SAO PAULO – The deaths of 33 inmates at a prison in the northern state of Roraima were related to internal conflicts among members of the powerful criminal organization known as the First Capital Command (PCC), Brazil’s justice minister said Friday.
“According to the initial information, three of the dead were rapists who were already separated (from the other PCC inmates), and the others were internal rivals who had betrayed the rest,” Alexandre de Moraes said during a press conference in Brasilia.
“In the popular vernacular, it would be an internal settling of scores, which does not make the events any less serious,” he said.
The massacre took place overnight at Agricola de Monte Cristo prison in Boa Vista, the Roraima state capital.
The decapitated – and, in some cases, dismembered – bodies of the victims were piled in corridors of a cellblock occupied exclusively by PCC inmates.
“It does not appear to be PCC vengeance against Familia Do Norte (FDN),” the justice minister said, referring to possible retaliation for the slaughter of 56 PCC members by FDN prisoners early this week at a prison in Manaus, capital of Amazonas state.
Four prisoners were killed this week at another penitentiary in Manaus.
Ten people died in October in a clash between rival gangs at Agricola, the largest penitentiary in Roraima, which borders Venezuela and Guyana.
That episode prompted prison authorities to segregate prisoners according to gang affiliation.
Brazilian prisons are plagued by extreme overcrowding and frequent clashes among jailed members of the country’s extensive criminal organizations.
President Michel Temer’s government announced Thursday a national public safety plan that includes a modernization of prisons.