At least 18 inmates died in clashes in two separate penitentiaries in Brazil's Amazon region and more than three dozen escaped after a third prison riot caused a large fire in a complex outside Sao Paulo, officials say. Authorities are investigating a possible connection between the first two uprisings in the jungle states of Rondonia and Roraima, the AP reports. Ten prisoners died in the mutiny in Roraima, while eight others were killed in a similar riot about 800 miles away in the penitentiary in Rondonia.
Uziel Castro, Roraima's justice secretary, says at least seven of the bodies were piled up and burned after the Sunday prison mutiny in that state. He says at least three of the bodies were beheaded and efforts to identify them have been slow. Clashes between rival crime gangs were blamed for the Amazon riots, while the motive behind the third prison riot was not immediately clear. Sao Paulo's corrections department says police officers managed to recapture 18 of 55 inmates who had escaped the psychiatric ward Monday evening in Franco da Rocha, a suburb of greater Sao Paulo. (Read more Brazil stories.)