Rioting inmates in Brazil beheaded and assaulted their rivals, killing at least 60, when fighting erupted between two gangs at a prison in the Amazon region, officials said Monday.
The 17-hour riot broke out Sunday afternoon and lasted through the night at a prison on the outskirts of Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, said state public security secretary Sergio Fontes.
He called it "the biggest massacre" ever committed at a prison in the state -- and it ranks among the most deadly of numerous prison riots across Latin America in the past decade.
Bodies were stacked in a concrete prison yard and piled in carts, said an AFP photographer at the scene.
Outside, heavily armed police hunted for dozens of inmates who escaped through a series of tunnels discovered at the Anisio Jobim penitentiary complex.
Fontes said 16 tunnels were discovered. In all, 87 inmates escaped, authorities said.
Forty have been recaptured so far, the state security secretariat told AFP.
Anguished relatives of inmates meanwhile waited outside the prison for news of their family members. Authorities have not yet released the names of those killed.
Police finally restored order at the prison on Monday morning, freeing 12 guards who had been taken hostage, Fontes said.
Fontes said the gruesome scene appeared aimed at sending a message from the Family of the North (FDN), a powerful local gang, to rivals from the First Capital Command (PCC), one of Brazil's largest gangs, whose base is in Sao Paulo, some 2,700 kilometers (1,650 miles) to the southeast.
"During the negotiations (to end the riot), the prisoners had almost no demands," Fontes told local radio network Tiradentes.
"We think they had already done what they wanted: kill members of the rival organization."
Source - AFP