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Brazil

Scores of inmates at large after Brazil prison break

Brazilian police are still searching for dozens of inmates after the country's latest prison break. More than 150 inmates have been killed in prison riots since the beginning of the year, many of them beheaded by rivals.

More than 150 prisoners have escaped from a semi-open prison in the town of Bauru, Brazil's national prisons authority has said.

Military police managed to recapture 90 of them later on Tuesday. However, Brazilian police in the state of Sao Paulo launched an operation to hunt down the remaining 62 prisoners on the loose.

A rebellion erupted Tuesday morning when a prison guard confiscated a mobile phone, considered a banned item, from an inmate.

"The prisoners started a commotion and some took advantage of it to flee," a source in the prisons authority told AFP news agency.

Inmates at the Penitentiary Progression Center also set fire to the roof of a cellblock, although firefighters responded quickly to put out the blaze.

Inmates in control

Brazil has witnessed several prison riots at its high-security lockups this year.

Authorities have accused rival drug gangs of fomenting unrest, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 130 inmates, many of them beheaded by fellow prisoners.

Humanitarian groups said criminal gangs control the prisons in Brazil and effectively smuggle weapons and prohibited devices into the facility without consequence.

With the fourth largest prison population in the world, Brazilian prisons suffer from widespread overcrowding.

The South American nation has more than 622,000 prisoners, although its detention facilities allow for a maximum of 371,000 people.

Watch video 00:51

Rights group slams Brazil's prison policy

ls/cmk (AFP, dpa, AP)

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