Inmates at a northern Brazilian prison filmed themselves cooking the bodies of rival gang members over an improvised grill following the latest in a series of riots throughout Brazil’s overpopulated, barely-controlled prison system.
Identifying the burned flesh as having belonged to Brazil’s First Capital Command (PCC) drug gang, rival gang members can be seen in a video uploaded to social media shouting and laughing about their “roast.” “Churrasco do PCC,” the inmates repeat, comparing the strips of human flesh on a makeshift skewer to the famous Latin American strip steak. “This is just the beginning,” one of the men says, calling their event a “barbecue” and laughing.
WARNING: Graphic Video
The incident occurred in Alcaçuz prison in Rio Grande do Norte, the third prison to experience a riot and massacre as part of a nationwide war between the PCC, the largest drug gang in Brazil, and its main rival, the Red Command (CV) and its allies. The inmates in the video above are believed to be members of the RN Crime Syndicate (RN), a local gang affiliated with the national CV. The Argentine website Infobae reports that the prisoners in Alcaçuz have been in open revolt for eleven days.
The initial disturbance in Alcaçuz last week began as retribution by the PCC for attacks against their members in other prisons. Police confirmed 26 deaths in that massacre, most burned, beheaded, and otherwise disfigured. PCC members were responding to a 17-hour riot and massacre on New Year’s Eve in the Anisio Jobim Prison Complex of Manaus (Compaj), deep in Amazonas state. The assailants in the Compaj riot were reportedly members of the CV-allied Familia do Norte (FDN), who beheaded and dismembered PCC members.
A week later, PCC members attacked FDN members in a prison in Roraima, north of Amazonas. PCC members cut the hearts out of those they killed and hurled the bodies over the gates of the prison to send a message to FDN members not within its walls.
On Tuesday, Brazilian authorities reported that inmates in Bauru, Sao Paulo state, had begun setting their prison on fire, and two hundred of them managed to escape in the chaos. Police have yet to recapture an estimated sixty of them. The prisoners reportedly began to riot after a guard confiscated a mobile phone from one of the inmates.
The Alcaçuz riot and ongoing instability followed the Roraima incident. The two gangs are reportedly fighting over drug distribution territories in the nation’s eastern cities Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, though the war has devastated communities far from those metropolises. Rio Grande do Norte’s capital, Natal, has been particularly affected by the violence. A week ago, for example, gang members set 15 buses and a state government car on fire in Natal. Alcaçuz inmates, meanwhile, were found to have been mid-construction on three escape tunnels under the prison, threatening the city itself.
Police have been largely unsuccessful in subduing the chaos. Latest reports from the Brazilian newspaper O Globo suggest that some law enforcement officials have reached out to PCC leaders hoping to convince them to call for an end to the violence.
Spearheading the project, O Globo reports, is the governor of Rio Grande do Norte, where Alcaçuz is located. “According to information obtained by GLOBO, a delegate from the Civil Police and a military police officer were assigned to talk to criminals,” the newspaper claims. Rio Grande do Norte officials denied the report, with regional Secretary of Justice Wallber Virgolino claiming that what had instead happened was a “verbalization” between law enforcement and gang members. “There was never a negotiation,” he claimed.
Natal Court of Appeals Judge Henrique Baltazar and Rio Grande do Norte Attorney General Rinaldo Reis subsequently issued a statement asserting that “negotiation with criminal groups is not acceptable.”