Fifty-two prisoners have died after a five-hour rebellion at a prison in Brazil’s
southwestern region of Para.

Inmates set part of the Altamira prison alight and at least 16 prisoners were beheaded, according to state prison officials.

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The other victims were asphyxiated.

The riot apparently started as a fight between two criminal gangs, with one group breaking into a part of the prison housing the other group, locking the room and setting fire to it.

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No prison staff were injured, although two were held hostage and later released.

According to Globo.com the prison has a capacity of 200 detainees but was occupied by 311 prisoners.

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In May, 55 inmates died at prisons in Brazil’s Amazonas state.

Fifteen prisoners were found dead at one prison, many strangled and stabbed with sharpened toothbrushes.

Another 40 bodies were found at another prison a day later, the victims reported to have died from asphyxiation.

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According to a survey published in Globo.com in April, Brazil has the world’s third-largest prison population – 704,000).

However, there is only cell space for just under 416,000, leading to severe overcrowding, inhumane conditions and regular riots.

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