Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:45PM
Inmates are seen during confrontation between gangs at Alcacuz Penitentiary Center near Natal in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil on January 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Inmates are seen during confrontation between gangs at Alcacuz Penitentiary Center near Natal in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil on January 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
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Fresh clashes have broken out among members of different Brazilian drug gangs at a northeastern prison, leaving at least one more inmate dead.

Five inmates were also injured in the overnight clashes at the Caico prison in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, authorities said Thursday.

The prison authorities said the rioting inmates burned the prison bed mattresses and ripped down part of the roof in one of the blocks there.

A spokesperson for the state’s security secretariat said prison guards had suppressed the riot.

Brazil has been hit by a wave of deadly prison clashes in the north and northeast regions since the start of 2017. The surge in gang violence in prisons has left around 140 prisoners dead in less than three weeks.

Many inmates killed in the violence were either decapitated or mutilated in the riots.

The clashes are the result of a power-clash between Brazil’s most powerful drug gangs.

The São Paulo-based First Capital Command, or PCC, is the biggest criminal gang in the South American state. Its offshoot and the second-most powerful gang is the Rio de Janeiro-based Red Command.

The powerful North Family gang runs a drug route along the Solimoes River in the Amazon that flows into Colombia and Peru, where the strong stimulant drug cocaine is produced.

Rioting prisoners are seen during a riot in the Alcacuz Penitentiary Center in Rio Grande de Norte on January 18, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The gang-fights between the rivaling groups kicked off on January 1 with a clash in a Manaus prison in Amazonas State, where the North Family gang killed 56 inmates, mostly PCC members.

The PCC retaliated against the attack a couple of days later, killing 33 inmates at the Monte Cristo prison in the Amazonian state of Roraima.

The notorious gangs of Brazil run the criminal activities both inside and outside prisons by gang leaders who are already incarcerated in maximum-security facilities.