At least 25 inmates were killed as brutal clashes erupted between two rival factions in a prison in northern Brazil on Sunday. The prisoners, who were armed with knives and wooden clubs, also took some 100 people as hostage. Special Operations Police was sent inside the prison to secure the release of the captives and to gain control of the situation.
A police official said that the riots erupted in Boa Vista prison after inmates of one faction broke into the section of the other group, writes the BBC. Seven of the dead were beheaded and six others were burned to death during hours-long mayhem. Rioters briefly held the visiting relatives of inmates and demanded that a judge come to hear their issues.
Boa Vista prison, where the bloodshed took place, houses 1,400 inmates currently against its capacity of up to 740. In Brazil, which infamously has the world’s fourth largest prison population, “overcrowded and poorly resourced” jails are dominated by powerful crime gangs. Fights and riots are common in overloaded jails, where flare ups begin even on petty issues, reports Al Jazeera.