Bruno Santos / AFP / Getty Images
At least 57 prisoners were killed by fellow inmates during a prison riot in northern Brazil, described by the authorities as a "targeted act" by gang members targeting a rival group.
The uprising in Altamira Prison began early Monday and lasted all morning for authorities. Two prison officials were reportedly taken hostage, but later released after negotiations.
A statement by the State of Pará, where the prison is located, said the uprising had been triggered when members of the Comando Class A gang set fire to fire. A cell in which rival Gang members of Comando Vermelho (Red Command).
Most of the prisoners who died were killed in a fire, but at least 16 of them were beheaded.
"It was a targeted act," said state prison director Jarbas Vasconcelos in a statement, according to Reuters. "The goal was to show that it was a settlement between two gangs."
Vasconcelos said the fire spread over an old wing of the prison where prisoners were being held while a new building was under construction. According to The Associated Press, Altamira hosts more than twice as many occupants as its maximum capacity.
Vasconcelos said the fire had prevented the police from entering the building for several hours Some detention centers and criminal gangs have de facto control and can easily access weapons. In this case, however, the death toll is unusually high.