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Dozens of inmates found dead at Brazil prisons

The deaths came a day after 15 died during fighting among prisoners at a fourth prison in the same city.

Police guard the entrance to the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex after a deadly riot erupted among inmates (AP/Edmar Barros)
Police guard the entrance to the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex after a deadly riot erupted among inmates (AP/Edmar Barros)

Forty-two inmates were killed at three different prisons in the capital of Brazil’s northern Amazonas state on Monday, authorities reported.

The deaths came a day after 15 died during fighting among prisoners at a fourth prison in the same city.

The Amazonas state prison agency said all 42 prisoners found dead in Manaus on Monday showed signs of asphyxia.

The killings across the city’s prisons recalled early 2017 when more than 120 inmates died at the hands of other prisoners during several weeks of fighting among rival crime gang members at prisons in northern states.

Many of those victims had their heads cut off or their hearts and intestines ripped out.

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Relatives of inmates demand more information about their loved ones outside the Anisio Jobim Prison in Manaus (AP/Edmar Barros)

On Sunday, 15 inmates were killed during a riot at Manaus’ Anisio Jobim Prison Complex, where 56 prisoners died in the violence two years earlier.

Local authorities said prisoners began fighting among themselves before noon on Sunday, and security reinforcements were rushed in and managed to regain control within 45 minutes.

Little information was released about the killings on Monday.

Brazil’s justice and public security ministry said it was sending a federal task force to help local officials handle the situation.

“I just spoke with (Justice) Minister Sergio Moro, who is already sending a prison intervention team to the State of Amazonas, so that he can help us in this moment of crisis and a problem that is national: the problem of prisons,” Amazonas state governor Wilson Lima said.

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The mother of a prisoner cries outside the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex (AP/Edmar Barros)

Several drug-trafficking and other criminal gangs in Brazil run much of their day-to-day business from prisons, where they often have wide sway.

The 2017 slayings were largely gang-related, prompting authorities to increase efforts to separate factions and frequently transfer prisoners.

Authorities have not yet said whether gang wars were behind the latest blood-letting.

Mr Moro had to send a federal task force to help tame violence in Ceara state in January that local officials said was ordered by crime gang leaders angered by plans to impose tighter controls in the state’s prisons.

PA

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