Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil prison riots: 114 fugitives still on the run

Military police officers track for fugitives of the Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Complex after a riot in the prison left at least 60 people killed and several injured, in Manaus, Amazonia state, Brazil on January 2, 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police managed to catch 70 fugitives but 114 remain at large

Police in Brazil are stepping up their search for more than 100 prisoners who are still on the run after escaping from adjoining prisons in the northern state of Amazonas on 1 January.

Officials have confirmed that of the 184 inmates that escaped, 70 have been captured, leaving 114 still at large.

Among those on the run is Brayan Bremer, who posted pictures of himself on the run on social media.

About 100 federal officers have been sent to Amazonas to boost the search.

Amazonas governor Jose Melo requested the help of the federal government on Sunday, saying Amazonas were "at their physical and psychological limit".

The prisoners escaped from the Anisio Jobim jail in Manaus and the neighbouring Antonio Trindad prison as a deadly riot was under way in the former.

Brazil prison riots: What's the cause?

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Fifty-six inmates were killed in the riot at Anisio Jobim prison

The director of the Anisio Jobim jail, Jose Carvalho da Silva, has since been suspended over allegations he took money from the Familia do Norte gang in exchange for turning a blind eye to drugs and weapons beings smuggled into the jail.

Investigators say the Familia do Norte instigated the riot and specifically targeted members of rival gang First Capital Command (PCC).

Mr Silva is also accused of allowing inmates to flee the prison in exchange for money.

He had been put in charge of the jail on 28 December in an interim capacity, after serving as deputy head.

Two inmates made the allegations against him in separate letters sent to the authorities three weeks before the riot.

In the letters, the inmates say that Mr Silva had threatened to move them from a secure area of the jail into a "general population" area, even though they had received death threats and a judge had ordered they be kept separate from the general prison population.

The two were among the 56 inmates killed during the riot on 1 January.

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