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In Brazil Police use shipping containers to separate prison gangs

Elite officers entered the Alcacuz prison near Natal in northern Brazil to build a makeshift wall with the containers to impede access between wings of the facility.

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Police build a barrier using containers to separate rival factions after violent clashes between gangs in the Alcacuz Penitentiary Center near Natal in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, on January 21, 2017 play

Police build a barrier using containers to separate rival factions after violent clashes between gangs in the Alcacuz Penitentiary Center near Natal in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, on January 21, 2017

(AFP)

Brazilian police used shipping containers on Saturday to try to separate rival gangs in a prison where clashes a week ago left at least 26 people dead.

Elite officers entered the Alcacuz prison near Natal in northern Brazil to build a makeshift wall with the containers to impede access between wings of the facility.

At the same time, 1,800 soldiers patrolled the streets of Natal, where attacks against buses and state buildings have surged in recent days, in riots linked to the battle between the gangs. Public transport was partially halted over the weekend.

Police said 18 containers will create a temporary barrier in the Alcacuz prison.

In two weeks' time they will be replaced with a concrete wall, a spokesman for the state government told AFP.

It remains to be seen whether the obstacles will prevent further bloodshed. A week ago, clashes in the prison left 26 inmates massacred, most of them beheaded.

On Thursday, a day after some 200 prisoners were bussed out of the overcrowded facility, fresh violence broke out between prisoners brandishing knives.

Media reports said two people were killed, but there was no toll given by authorities.

Elsewhere, in Brazil's northeastern Pernambuco state, police on Saturday put down another prison riot in which three people were killed and three wounded, officials said.

More than 140 people have been killed in prison riots in Brazil since the beginning of this year.

Riot police enter the Alcacuz Penitentiary Center to regain control after a gang confrontation at the prison play

Riot police enter the Alcacuz Penitentiary Center to regain control after a gang confrontation at the prison

(AFP)

Experts say the violence is part of a war between drug gangs battling for control of one of the world's most important cocaine markets and trafficking routes.

Brazil shares borders with Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, the world's three biggest cocaine producers. It is a key route for trafficking the drug to Europe.

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