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Brazil prison riot ends, nine killed
Updated: 2004-04-23 08:41

A five-day riot at a Brazilian prison, in which at least nine inmates were killed and prisoners brandished the severed heads of their enemies from the walls, ended on Thursday, authorities said.

The bloody uprising was stopped after authorities in the Amazon state of Rondonia granted the prisoners' demands, which included replacing the prison director and expanding the overcrowded facility.

"We are preparing to bring out the family members first," said Renato Eduardo dos Santos, Rondonia state's deputy security secretary.

About 170 visiting family members entered the prison during visiting hours on Sunday and decided to stay, according to state officials. Others say they were being held as hostages.

Prison riots are common in Brazil but this one was unusually shocking as rebel inmates threw the mutilated corpses of rivals from the prison walls. They decapitated two of the dead men and hung their heads from the wall.

The Urso Branco, or 'White Bear' prison, which was built for 360 but houses more than 1,000 inmates, was the scene of an earlier riot in 2002 when 27 prisoners died.

Dos Santos said more dead bodies might be found inside the prison.

Electricity and water at the prison were turned off and food was running short by Thursday. "They are hunting cats inside, but there are not too many of them around to feed on," said a police spokesman earlier on Thursday.

The Organization of American States' human rights watchdog criticized the Brazilian government for not protecting the prisoners in the Amazon jail after making various recommendations following the 2002 uprising which were not followed.

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