SAO PAULO – Four inmates died early Sunday in a riot at a prison in Manaus, the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, that had been reopened to house prisoners from another penitentiary where 56 inmates were massacred, officials said.
The riot occurred at the Desembargador Raimundo Vidal Pessoa prison in downtown Manaus, the Amazonas Public Safety Secretariat said.
The state prison had been closed in October on the recommendation of the National Justice Council (CNJ), which concluded that the facility was overcrowded and had structural defects.
The penitentiary, which was used by the Amazonas state government for 100 years, was reopened last week and nearly 300 inmates were transferred there from prisons affected by fights involving rival gangs.
A 17-hour fight that took place Jan. 1-2 at the Anisio Jobim penitentiary in Manaus left 56 inmates dead.
The fight started when members of the Familia do Norte (FDN), the gang that controls the prison, picked a fight with members of the First Capital Command (PCC), a criminal organization based in Sao Paulo.
The FDN is an ally of the Red Command (CV), a gang from Rio de Janeiro that is a rival of the PCC.
Most of those killed were PCC members, officials said.
Four other inmates died in a fight at the Puraquequara Prison Unit (UPP), located in a rural area outside Manaus.
The Amazonas state government responded by segregating inmates based on their gang affiliation and moving them to Desembargador Raimundo Vidal Pessoa.
The inmates moved to the old prison attempted to riot on Friday, complaining about the poor conditions and lack of space at the penitentiary.
Police, however, managed to prevent an outbreak of violence.
Officials are dealing with a severe prison crisis in Brazil, where 33 inmates were murdered Friday at a penitentiary in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima state, which borders Venezuela and Guyana.
The federal government on Sunday authorized the deployment of army troops at prisons in Amazonas, Rondonia and Mato Grosso states in an effort to prevent new riots.
State officials asked the Justice Ministry for security assistance in the wake of the deadly fights that have broken out recently at prisons.