At least 55 people were found dead after violent clashes broke out among rival drug factions in several prisons in northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, correction officials said on Monday.
The clashes began on Sunday during visiting hours at the Anisio Jobin prison in Manaus city. Of the 15 inmates who died, some were reported to have been asphyxiated, while others were stabbed with sharpened toothbrushes, reports The New York Times.
The outbreak of violence at the Anisio prison expanded on Monday to at least three other prisons in the state, leading to 40 more deaths.
Colonel Marcos Vinicius Almeida, head of jails in Amazonas, told reporters here that the violence was sparked by "infighting among inmates." No prison guard has been harmed or taken hostage.
Following the clashes, Brazil's Justice Ministry has dispatched a task force to the state to assist the local officials in controlling the situation.
Speaking on the same, state governor Wilson Lima said in a statement that he hoped that the task force would "help us in this time of crisis to confront a problem that is a national one: the problem in our prisons.
While Brazil's national prisons are equipped to hold only about 4 lakh people, the data collected by Brazilian Senate Staff states that the prison population has ballooned from roughly 4,51,000 in 2008 to an estimated 8,41,000 last year.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)