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Two guards held in Brazil prison uprising

Inmates stand on the roof of the penitentiary in Cascavel, Parana state, Brazil, on August 25, 2014.AFP PHOTO/MARCELINO DUARTE

BRASïLIA: Brazilian authorities negotiated Monday with prison inmates holding two guards hostage after an uprising in which they killed four fellow prisoners, beheading two of them.

The prison in the southern city of Cascavel remained 60 percent under the control of the prisoners, but police had regained control of the rest, officials said.

The riot erupted Sunday as breakfast was being delivered, with inmates overpowering guards.

Two inmates were beheaded in the first surge of violence, and two others were thrown off the top of the cellblocks. The guards were taken hostage in the melee, Miguel Llanela, a civilian police agent assigned to the prison, told AFP.

An official with the guards’ union said only 10 guards were on duty at the time.

“Negotiations resumed this morning” Elson Faxina, a state judicial spokesman, told AFP.

“Agreements are advancing and we hope that during the day the issue is resolved,” he said.

Prison authorities said the inmates were demanding better facilities and greater flexibility in visiting hours and deliveries of food.

But the inmate-on-inmate violence also suggested that rivalries between competing prison gangs were a factor in the uprising.

The state correctional center, which houses 1,140 inmates, has a capacity of 1,181 prisoners according to official data.

Anthony Johnson, president of the prison guard union in Parana state said the “capacity was expanded only on paper, because originally it was meant for only 900 prisoners, so there’s overcrowding.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2014, on page 11.

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