At least 33 prisoners have been killed by their rivals at the Agricultural penitentiary of Monte Cristo in the city of Boa Vista, in the northern state of Roraima on Friday. The violence, which occurred overnight in Roraima state, comes just within five days after Brazil’s deadliest prison massacre in decades that left at least 56 prisoners dead in a penitentiary in Manaus.
The governor of Monte Cristo prison in Boa Vista said two powerful drug rival gangs were involved in violent clashes overnight. Several of the dead were beheaded, had their hearts cut out and their bodies burned on a bonfire. The decapitated bodies of some of those killed were reportedly thrown over the prison wall. Prisoners exchanged bullets with police and 12 prison guards were taken hostage, while some 74 prisoners held hostage were either executed or released.
Officials told local media that the riot began in Boa Vista’s Penitenciária Agrícola de Monte Cristo on Friday at about 2:30 a.m. when inmates managed to break the locks of their cells and invaded a separate wing of the building, where the killings occurred.
The head of security official for Roraima state, Uziel de Castro, blamed Friday’s violence at the state-run prison on the Sao Paulo-based PCC (First Capital Command) drug gang, which was targeted in Monday’s prison massacre in Amazonas state. At least 93 prisoners have been killed in three separate prison riots this week and It is the second major jail disturbance in the country this week.
Immediately It wasn’t clear whether there was any connection to the despicable skirmishing earlier this week in Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Complex (Compaj) in Manaus, which officials blamed on a war between most powerful drug gangs are fighting for control of prisons and to dominate the traffic of cocaine from Colombia, Peru, Venezuela to the region.
A police statement said officers, including a heavily armed military-like riot squad, had been deployed to the prison.
“The federal government needs to prepare for a worst case scenario, and that means accelerating measures to keep the situation from getting worse,” said Col. Jose Vicente, a former national security adviser and risk consultant.
Brazilian Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said, however, the taking of life in Roraima were the result of an internal PCC (First Capital Command) vendetta and not connected to Monday’s prison massacre in Amazonas.
Federal police (special task forces) would be more integrated in state capitals and would be created to more swiftly operation criminal charges, a monitoring measure aimed at diminishing overcrowding. There were 1,475 prisoners at the Monte Cristo prison almost double its capacity of 750 and 15 officers at the time of the incident, Jornal O Globo reported.
Last year there were 379 violent deaths, including murders and suicides, in Brazilian prisons, or around one death per day.