World Bulletin / News Desk
A prison riot in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, in which over 70 people were taken hostage, has left eight people dead and at least five injured, local media reported Monday.
The riot, which ended Monday after 18 hours, took place in a penitentiary in the city of Feira de Santana, 110 kilometers from the state capital, Salvador.
Negotiations with mutinous inmates were called off late Sunday but started once again early Monday morning, the Bahia-based A Tarde newspaper reported.
Inmates were removed to outside areas of the prison while hostages, mainly inmates' relatives, including children, began to be released.
Three firearms - two revolvers and a pistol - were retrieved from the prison by military police. The facility is now being swept for other weapons and banned items, such as mobile phones.
Tensions between rival prison gangs are reported to be behind the violence.
"It was a war between gangs that led to the rebellion," prison director Cleriston Leite was quoted by A Tarde as saying. "One group wants to control all the inmates and this is why they had the disagreement."
Riots are common in Brazilian prisons, many of which hold far more inmates than they are designed to accommodate. The prison in question is currently housing 1,467 inmates, but has capacity for just 644, according to official figures.
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