A terrible act of violence took place at a prison in Brazil. Prisoners belonging to the Comando Classe A gang set fire to a cell containing inmates from the rival Comando Vermelho, or Red Command, group, Para’s state government said in a statement.
Besides the riot, at least 16 inmates were decapitated. Shocking images were published through social media in Brazil. In one of them, you can see an inmate playing soccer with one of the prisoner’s heads.
Videos circulating online showed inmates at the prison, celebrating as they kicked decapitated heads across the floor.
“It was a targeted act,” state prison director Jarbas Vasconcelos said in the statement, adding there was no prior intelligence that suggested an attack would take place.
“The aim was to show that it was a settling of accounts between the two gangs.”
Elected on a tough-on-crime message, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has benefited from a sharp drop in homicides so far this year. Nonetheless, endemic prison violence has been a stubborn public security challenge in one of the world’s most violent countries.
Brazil’s justice ministry said in a statement that it was working with Para authorities to identify those behind the latest attack, adding it had opened some space in the federal prison system where those gang leaders would be transferred.