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Twenty-six inmates were killed when rival drug gangs on January 14 began battling each other in Alcazuz in a scene that has been repeated a number of times in Brazil’s prison system for several weeks.
Prison guards in Alcazuz watched, unable to intervene, as inmates from rival gangs battled each other with steel pipes, knives, and crudely made weapons. In what has become a signature act of violence between gangs in prison, several inmates were disemboweled and beheaded.
The riot in Alcazuz penitentiary, which spread to the city’s streets, is the latest violence that appears to show the federal government losing control of its prison system.
On January 1, a turf war between the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command (PCC), North Family and the Red Command drug gangs, turned into an extremely violent brawl, which killed some 60 inmates at a prison in Manaus in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, was sparked by a turf war between two large gangs.
The violence spread to other prisons including a maximum security prison in the northern Brazilian state of Roraima.
President Michel Temer and representatives of the cabinet and intelligence organs held an emergency meeting earlier this week and authorized the use of armed forces to support state governments as they quell prison riots.
The military will be used to help police search the prisons for cellphones, drugs and weapons but not directly engage the inmates.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies