A prison riot that lasted for over 17 hours left nearly 60 inmates dead in Brazil. Two rival criminal organizations, the Familia do Norte (FDN), and Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) started rioting at the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex in Manaus. During the riot, bodies were found tossed over the prison complex walls with at least six decapitations.
Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas in the Northern Region of Brazil. It is about 2,000 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro and is located at the confluence of the Negro and Solimoes rivers. With over two million people, it has the most population in the state of Amazonas and the Amazon rainforest. Founded in 1693 as the Fort of Sao Jose do Rio Negro, it is in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Access to Manaus is done by boat or airplane.
The FDN, according to CNN, controls the prisons in Brazil and the movement and sales of drugs within their walls. Sergio Fontes, the public safety secretary of the state of Amazonas, said the two criminal organizations rioted because of money.
In the riot, over 70 people were taken hostage including prison guards. Brazilian authorities do not know how many inmates escaped during the riot, but military police officers are tracking them down. During this riot, the Antonio Trindade Penal Institute (Ipat), at another Manaus prison, more prisoners escaped. The jailbreak at Ipat could have been an arranged distraction for the riot at the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex, some speculated.
Judge Luis Carlos Valois, who helped negotiate the riot’s end said that he “never saw anything like this in my life,” to The New York Times. He went on to say that counting the dead was difficult because many of them had been dismembered. Because of overcrowding in Brazil’s jails due to the “soaring number of convictions for relatively minor drug offenses have pushed prison populations upward,” the gang influence is growing, and riots will likely continue over the South American country.
Fontes told CNN that the identity of the instigators of this deadly riot will be discovered. Once they are, they will be held accountable for crimes connected to the riot and the murders that took place during the chaos. However, they will not be transferred to federal prisons. Following the prison riot the state of Amazonas requested federal support to fight drug traffickers and for security in detention centers. According to The Washington Post, Brazilian President Michel Temer announced that he would “secure $360 million to improve prison infrastructure.” This riot was the latest in a long line of prison riots around Brazil.
By Cheryl Werber
Photo Courtesy Google Earth