At least 33 inmates killed in new Brazil prison riot

At least 33 inmates killed in the latest prison riot in Brazil.

BOA VISTA, RORAIMA STATE, BRAZIL (JANUARY 05, 2017) (TV GLOBO NO ACCESS BRAZIL / CNN)- At least 33 inmates were killed in a prison riot in Brazil on Friday (January 6), officials said, possibly in retaliation after members of a powerful drug gang were targeted in the worst prison massacre in decades that left 56 people dead earlier this week.

Several of the dead were decapitated, had their hearts cut out and their bodies burned on a bonfire, the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper reported, citing security officials.

State officials said the riot in Monte Cristo, Roraima state’s largest penitentiary, was brought under control by elite police forces. Violence between rival drug gangs in the prison had ended with 10 dead in October.

At least 93 prisoners have been killed in three separate prison riots this week in Brazil, sparking fears that months of violence between drug gangs who control many of the country’s prisons was spiralling out of control.

The top security official in the state of Roraima, Uziel de Castro, speaking on BandNews radio, blamed Friday’s violence at the state-run prison on the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command (PCC) drug gang, which was targeted in Monday’s massacre at a prison in Amazonas state.

Brazilian Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes said, however, the killings in Roraima were the result of an internal PCC feud and not connected to Monday’s prison massacre in Amazonas. He insisted that Brazil had control of its prisons.

“The situation isn’t out of control. It is yet another difficult situation. There were had already been problems at Roraima before which happened during the second half of last year. If I’m not mistaken as far as the numbers, we had 18 dead in riots in Roraima last year too. Local authorities have been monitoring this situation, so it did not get out of control,” Moraes said.

“Of the dead, three were (convicted) rapists who were separated from the rest of the group. The rest were part of rival groups who, according to early information, had betrayed too much, so if you use common language, this was an internal issue, but it does not lessen the gravity of the situation in any way,” he added.

Security experts had predicted more violence in Brazil’s gang-controlled prison system in the wake of Monday’s massacre.

In Monday’s uprising, members of PCC were attacked by the North Family drug faction, which controls the Anisio Jobim penitentiary in Amazonas, according to officials. North Family in Amazonas is believed to dominate cocaine traffic from Colombia and Peru, according to authorities.

The group is allied with the Rio de Janeiro-based Red Command drug gang, Brazil’s second most powerful faction after PCC.

For more than two decades, PCC and Red Command maintained an uneasy alliance, ensuring that a steady flow of drugs and guns flowed across Brazil’s long jungle border.

But about six months ago PCC and Red Command split, as PCC moved to take control of lucrative drug routes across the border with Paraguay and become Brazil’s dominant gang.