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2 Killed as Police Storm Brazil Prison; 25 Hostages Still Held

January 05, 1988|From Times Wire Services

RIO DE JANEIRO — Police hurling tear gas stormed a prison in southern Brazil on Monday night in an unsuccessful attempt to end a daylong rebellion in which 27 people were taken hostage, a security official said.

Two of the 27 hostages reportedly managed to flee when a special police unit of about 20 officers charged into Jacui prison with revolvers drawn and throwing tear gas.

Two convicts were killed and six people were injured as police worked to confine the remaining rebels with their hostages to one part of the maximum-security facility, said Sergi Motta, spokesman for the state security department in the town of Porto Allegre, about 60 miles from the prison.

Authorities continued attempts to negotiate with the inmates, who were described as heavily armed with handguns, a shotgun and homemade bombs.

The wounded--including one police officer, four hostages and one prisoner--were hit by bullets in sporadic gun battles in the winding passages of the prison.

Seven prisoners were reportedly involved in the uprising at the facility, built for 500 inmates but housing 700.

"Police chased the remaining inmates and hostages into a smaller section of the prison," Motta said. "We know two died and six others were injured.

The rebellion began Monday morning, when prisoners grabbed 27 hostages and threatened to kill them if they were not allowed to flee.

More specific demands of the prisoners were not known.

The prison rebellion was the second in Brazil in a week.

In Australia, meanwhile, negotiations continued in an attempt to free five hostages at maximum-security Fremantle prison, located outside Perth.

About 130 inmates armed with knives and bricks went on a rampage Monday, taking the guards hostage in a riot that injured at least seven people.

The prisoners also set fires that damaged 150 cells.

Unconfirmed reports said inmates were angry about conditions at the prison, built in 1856 by the last wave of convicts brought to the country from England.

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