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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 00:59 GMT
Brazil police killed in attack
Riot at Carandiru Prison, Sao Paulo, in February 2001
Influence comes from behind prison bars
Police stations in Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo have been sprayed with machine gun fire, leaving two officers dead, say officials.

The authorities say the shootings may have been orchestrated by imprisoned drug ring leaders in retaliation for a foiled prison break on Sunday.

In Tremembe, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) north-east of Sao Paulo, a convict was killed by guards when 28 inmates tried to escape from a prison.

Authorities have said they believe the escape attempt was aimed at freeing a jewel thief.

It seems like it's organised crime trying to show us they are still out there
Saulo de Abreu

Eight police stations were attacked throughout Sunday and into Monday.

"It seems like it's organised crime trying to show us they are still out there," said Saulo de Abreu, chief of Sao Paulo state police.

He denied the sprawling city of 18 million is becoming like Rio de Janeiro - where police and drug dealers frequently engage in what often appears to amount to urban warfare.

Take-away ban

There have been previous bouts of violence apparently on the orders of imprisoned criminals.

Rio's most infamous drug lord allegedly oversaw from his prison cell a wave of violence before the opening of the carnival.

Reports said Luiz Fernando da Costa was upset about being stripped of prison privileges, including conjugal visits and take-away restaurant food.

He is now being held at a remote Sao Paulo state prison considered Brazil's most secure.

Inmates die in Brazil crackdown
06 Nov 03  |  Americas
Mass jailbreak in Brazil
12 Apr 03  |  Americas
Brazil prison riot kills 10
29 Sep 02  |  Americas
Brazil's 'worst prison' closes
15 Sep 02  |  Americas
Four killed in Brazil prison revolt
12 Sep 02  |  Americas

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