Brazil Sun (IANS) Tuesday 26th May, 2015

At least seven people died, five others were injured and an undetermined number were being held hostage in a riot that broke out during visiting hours at a jail in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, authorities said on Monday.

According to initial police reports, the uprising in Cell Block 10 of the Regional Penitentiary of Feira de Santana, a municipality 117 km from Salvador, the regional capital, erupted on Sunday when a group of inmates seized family members, including women and children, to prevent them from leaving the facility after visiting their imprisoned relatives, Efe news agency rported.

According to preliminary reports, at least seven prisoners died, one by decapitation, and negotiations with the inmates to free the hostages were resumed on Monday morning by the authorities and human rights organisations.

Prison director Cleriston Leite told reporters that the riot was sparked by a dispute between rival crime gangs following the deaths of two ring leaders.

The five inmates who were injured, including one in critical condition, were released and taken to a hospital in the city.

The commander of the Militarised Police of Feira de Santana, Col. Adelmario Xavier, said that the water supply in the correctional facility has been suspended.

The jail currently holds 1,467 prisoners, though it was designed with a capacity for only 644, according to Bahia’s Penitentiary Administration Secretariat.