Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil gang 'declares war' on rivals in funk song

Relatives of prisoners who were victims of a recent prison riot, bury their loved ones during a funeral service in Manaos, Brazil, 04 January 2017. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Fifty-six inmates were killed in the riot at the Anisio Jobim jail in Manaus

A Brazilian criminal gang suspected of instigating a deadly riot in a prison in the northern city of Manaus on 1 January has used a funk song to 'declare war' on its rivals.

In the song attributed to the Familia do Norte (FDN) gang, a man gives details of the killings and says that "the war has only just started".

It goes on to threaten members of rival gang First Capital Command (PCC).

The song was shared on social media in the days following the riot.

End of the truce

Investigators have said that they believe that the riot was triggered by members of the Familia do Norte gang.

Most of the 56 inmates killed in the riot at the Anisio Jobim jail belonged to the PCC.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Relatives gathered outside the jail to wait for news following the 17-hour riot

The song, entitled "Funk about the FDN's massacre", also appears to back up investigators' suspicions that the Familia do Norte was acting on the behest of another gang, the Red Command, when they attacked the PCC.

Until recently, the Red Command and the PCC were abiding by a truce, which allowed each gang to control drug trafficking routes in certain regions of Brazil.

But security experts who monitor gang activity think that the truce crumbled in 2016 as the PCC tried to expand its operations into the north of Brazil.

In its lyrics, the funk song praises a new alliance between the Familia do Norte gang and the Red Command.

It also refers to the rupture of "the friendship" between the Red Command and the PCC.

It goes on to describe the weapons used in the killings, such as rifles and a grenade, and to boast about the violence inflicted, including decapitating PCC members.

BBC Brasil's Felipe Souza says it is not the first time Familia do Norte has used funk songs to threaten its rivals.

He says that in 2015, the gang shared a song in which it denounced members who had split off to form a new gang as "traitors".

Three members of the off-shoot were subsequently murdered.

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