SAO PAULO, Brazil | Ten detainees died in clashes between rival drug gangs in Brazil’s Itapajé prison, 125 km from northeastern Fortaleza, local authorities said on Monday.
“A clash between rival groups of detainees has caused these deaths,” said the Ceara State Secretariat of Justice, whose capital Fortaleza was two days after a shooting that killed 14 people in that city.
The authorities reported that the prison officers had regained control of the prison, but were unable to confirm whether there were any wounded or whether any prisoners had escaped.
On the night of Friday to Saturday, a group of armed men burst into a popular ball and opened fire, perpetrating the deadliest shooting in the history of Ceara State.
Of the 14 people killed, eight were women and the massacre was described as “barbarity” by the governor of Cearé, Camilo Santanta.
The investigation is still ongoing as the authorities said on Saturday that they “can not confirm whether it was a clash between factions”. Six people suspected of taking part in the shooting have already been arrested.
In 2017, the state of Ceara recorded a record 5,144 homicides, 50% more than in 2016.
On 1 January, a mutiny in a prison in Goias (central West) had nine people dead.
A massacre perpetrated a year to the day after bloody riots during which 56 detainees were savagely murdered in Manaus (north-west). More than 100 prisoners were killed in clashes of this type early last year.
Brazil has the third-largest prison population in the world, with 726,712 prisoners registered in June 2016, twice as much as the official capacity of prisons, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice.