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Four Killed in Prison Riot in Brazil

January 24, 2006

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ A prison riot in Brazil’s remote Amazon jungle state of Rondonia left four people dead, and inmates holding the warden and security director hostages threatened to kill them Tuesday, officials said.

The uprising began Monday night at the Agenor Martins de Carvalho prison in Ji-Parana, state police spokesman Lenilson Guedes said.

Inmates told guards that a prisoner was sick and had to be taken to the infirmary, Guedes said by telephone.

``When three guards entered the cell to escort the prisoner to the infirmary, three inmates opened fire with .38-caliber revolvers,″ Guedes said.

He said it was unclear how the inmates got the guns.

``One of the guards was shot through the heart and died instantly,″ he said.

Three inmates died in the shootout.

About half of the prison’s 300 inmates tried to escape but were stopped by heavily armed guards and police.

Riots and hostage-takings are common in Brazil’s overcrowded prison system.

Prison warden Joel de Araujo Pereira and security director Eliseu Segatto Pereira tried to calm the situation and were grabbed by a group of prisoners, Guedes said.

``Neither hostage has been harmed by the inmates, who are serving time for a wide range of crimes ranging from rape and murder to petty larceny,″ he said.

Officials agreed to the inmates’ demands for sentence reductions and longer visiting hours but negotiations reached an impasse because prisoners refuse to allow authorities to search their cells for hidden weapons, Guedes said.

The rebellion took place a month after inmates in another Rondonia prison detained 207 of their relatives in an uprising that lasted four days.

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