By James Blears
The scene of wanton mayhem was a prison in the City of Altamara. Sixteen inmates were decapitated, many more choked to death in the smoke of deliberately set fires.
The death toll is expected to rise. An investigation is underway with Authorities seeking the ring leaders, so they can be transferred from this State prison to more secure Federal Penitentaries.
Waders concede they had no prior intelligence, thus warning this would happen. They say that a gang known as Comando Classe A or CCA, attacked a rival faction, Comando Vermelho, known as Red Command, by starting fires. Two Prison Officers were kidnapped, but released unharmed as they weren't the target of the murderous plot. Inmates took to the roofs armed with home made knives.
So far no firearms have been found. Authorities weren`t able to get back into the prison and regain control for almost five hours. During that time mob law prevailed. The jail`s maximum capacity is 160, but almost double that number of inmates was packed into it.
Brazil`s President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to clamp down on the prison system, in order to exert tighter and stricter control.
The penal population in Brazil numbers 700,000, which is the third highest in the World.