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More than 40 inmates strangled to death in prisons in Brazi…

More than 40 inmates strangled to death in prisons in Brazi…

Relatives wait for news outside one of the prisons where inmates were killed (Picture: AP/AFP/Getty)

At least 42 inmates have been killed across three different prisons in the capital of Brazil’s northern Amazonas state.

Prison staff found the bodies of the dead and said all of them showed signs they had been strangled to death.

The deaths came a day after 15 other inmates died during a fight between rival prison gangs at a fourth prison in the same city.

The Amazonas state prison agency said all the prisoners found dead in Manaus on Monday showed signs of asphyxia.

A federal taskforce is being sent to Manaus in an effort to halt the violence.

Prisoners were found strangled to death in four separate jails, according to the penitentiary department in Manaus, Brazil (Picture: Reuters)
Relatives of inmates pray outside Anisio Jobim Prison Complex after a riot erupted on Sunday and killed 15 inmates (Picture: AP)
Brazilian riot police prepare to invade the Puraquequara Prison facility in the latest wave of violence to rock the country’s dangerous prison system (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Prison clashes are known to spread rapidly in Brazil, where drug gangs have control over most jails.

In early 2017 more than 120 inmates died at the hands of other prisoners during several weeks of fighting among rival crime gang members at prisons in northern states.

Many of those victims had their heads cut off or their hearts and intestines ripped out.

The fight that killed 15 on Sunday at Manaus’ Anisio Jobim Prison Complex came two years after 56 prisoners died in violence at the same jail.

Local authorities said prisoners began fighting among themselves before noon on Sunday, and security reinforcements were rushed in and managed to regain control within 45 minutes.

Little information was released about the killings on Monday.

Prisons in Brazil are overrun with criminal gangs who often run day-to-day drug trafficking businesses from their cells (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Relatives argue with police for more information outside the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex (Picture: PA)

Amazonas state governor Wilson Lima said: ‘I just spoke with (Justice) Minister Sergio Moro, who is already sending a prison intervention team to the State of Amazonas, so that he can help us in this moment of crisis and a problem that is national: the problem of prisons.’

Several drug-trafficking and other criminal gangs in Brazil run much of their day-to-day business from prisons, where they often have wide sway.

Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to regain control of the country’s prisons as well as building additional ones.

However the vast majority of jails are administered at the state level and have been overcrowded and out of control for decades.

The 2017 deaths were largely gang-related, prompting authorities to increase efforts to separate factions and frequently transfer prisoners.

Authorities have not yet said whether gang wars were behind the latest blood-letting.

Mr Moro had to send a federal task force to help tame violence in Ceara state in January that local officials said was ordered by crime gang leaders angered by plans to impose tighter controls in the state’s prisons.

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