ALTAMIRA, Brazil – The government of the Amazonian state of Para in northern Brazil began this Tuesday the transfer to another facility of 46 inmates involved in the massacre that on Monday left 57 prisoners dead in a prison complex following a clash between two rival factions.
The bloody dispute at the Regional Recuperation Center in Altamira occurred between the criminal factions of the Red Command and the Class A Command.
As inmates were sitting down to breakfast in one part of the prison, attackers from another cell-block burst in and set upon their enemies with “homemade weapons,” the prison service said.
The fight ended with 16 inmates decapitated and another 41 dead from smoke inhalation after one of the factions set fire to a cell-block.
As EFE could observe at the penitentiary, authorities of the Para government have begun the transfer of 46 convicts this Tuesday morning to other prisons in order to guarantee their isolation.
The Superintendency of the Para Penitentiary System (Susipe) told EFE that 30 inmates will be transferred by road, while another 16, considered the most dangerous and signaled as leaders of the massacre, will be flown to their destinations.
Ten of them will be locked up in maximum security prisons under federal government jurisdiction in the Para capital of Belem, where the strictest security measures are enforced.
The prison massacre, considered one of the most deadly since 1992, has caused turmoil in Brazilian society and has sparked an intense debate about the unstable conditions in the nation’s penitentiaries, which have the third most inmates of any in the world, trailing only the United States and China.
According to a document of the National Council of Justice, conditions in the Regional Recuperation Center of Altamira are considered “the worst,” due to overcrowded cells and the shortage of prison guards.
After the massacre, the NGO Amnesty International blasted the policies of the government headed by President Jair Bolsonaro and attributed the massacre to a prison system on its last legs with a “worn out” model of public safety.
The NGO also recalled that it has been “warning about the growing prison population and its unbearable living conditions for the past several years.”
“These inmates, who were under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian government to be reeducated so they could return to society with new opportunities, should have had their lives saved,” Amnesty International said.
Asked by reporters this Tuesday about his position regarding the massacre in Altamira, a small city some 850 kilometers (528 miles) from Belem, Bolsonaro refused to comment.
“Ask the families of the victims who died there to see what they think. After you get their answers, I will answer you,” the president said.