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26 inmates killed, some decapitated, in Brazilian prison riot

By
Andrew V. Pestano and Stephen Feller

NATAL, Brazil, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- At least 26 prisoners were killed, some decapitated, after a nearly 14-hour riot in Brazil's State Penitentiary of Alcaçuz in the Natal metropolitan area.

The riot began at 5 p.m. on Saturday as a gang fight between two rival factions housed in the prison's Pavilion 4 and Pavilion 5, Brazil's Ministry of Justice and Citizenship, or SEJUC, and ran until around 7 a.m. Sunday when riot police officers regained control of the prison, officials said.

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Brazilian military police arrived nearly 14 hours later on Sunday -- equipped with armored vehicles and a helicopter. Jornal O Globo reported the state government of Rio Grande do Norte said that security forces and inmates did not exchange gunfire.

SEJUC said there was no record inmates escaped. Witnesses said some of those killed were mutilated or decapitated based on cell phone pictures sent to officials. Brazilian police said the death toll could increase.

The latest violence brings the death toll of inmates killed in riots in Brazil so far this year to more than 120 killed.

In Brazil's Roraima state, at least 33 inmates were killed, some of them also decapitated, in a prison riot led by a drug gang, while in more than 60 inmates died -- including the decapitation of at least six people -- during a riot in Brazil's northern Manaus state.

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