20 people were killed and 26 more were injured in a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

This Week Around the World July 29–Aug. 3

July 29 Para, Brazil: In a prison fight between two rival organized crime groups, the Rio de Janeiro-based Comando Vermelho and the Para-local Comanda Classe A, 57 prison inmates were killed. Of those killed, 16 were decapitated. While two prison security officers were held captive for a period of time, they were later released and there were no prison authority casualties. There are 10 prisoners for every one guard at the Altamira prison where the fight broke out, and authorities revealed that instead of stopping the violence, prison officials began recording the killings and adding commentary such as “Check it out, they’re going to kill the prisoner,” according to The Washington Post. This was the single largest prison riot in Brazilian history. 

On July 31, four more inmates belonging to the two organized crime groups were killed while in transit to a different penitentiary in Maraba. TeleSUR reported 30 prisoners—all of whom allegedly took part in the fights the day before—were being transported in a truck not equipped to separate the prisoners. Four inmates had been strangled to death by other prisoners by the time the truck arrived at Maraba. 

July 31 Farah, Afghanistan: An explosive device planted on the side of the Kandahar-Herat highway in the Farah region of western Afghanistan killed 34 people and wounded 17 more. The device was hit by a bus transporting all of the victims, most of whom were women and children. Despite Taliban officials denying responsibility for the attack, Farah’s police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib has attributed the attack to the militant group. “The bomb was freshly planted by the Taliban insurgents to target Afghan and foreign security forces,” Mohib told reporters at a press conference, according to Reuters. No group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Aug. 1 Dhaka, Bangladesh: A medical procedure—which took a total of 30 hours and 35 different doctors—successfully separated two three-year-old girls who were born conjoined at the head. The procedure was named “Operation Freedom” and involved doctors from both Bangladesh and Hungary. According to AP News, Hungarian medical technology was used earlier in 2019 to allow both girls to grow additional skin and soft tissue. In 2018, Bangladeshi doctors began the separation process by separating cerebral veins in each girl’s brain. “Operation Freedom” was led by the Hungarian Action for Defenseless People Foundation. According to The Independent, one in every 2.5 million babies born are conjoined to their twin in some way. 

Aug. 3 El Paso, Texas, United States: At least 20 people were killed and 26 more wounded when 21-year-old Patrick Crusius opened fire inside a local Walmart. Crusius was taken into custody by El Paso authorities, and the FBI has now taken over the investigation. According to The New York Times, the gunman published a manifesto online before carrying out the attack. The manifesto claims the gunman was motivated by “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” according to The New York Times. The FBI has publicly announced they are currently investigating the shooting as a domestic terrorism case and is considering federal hate crime and federal firearms charges, both of which could result in the death penalty as punishment. “You see this happening in the movies but when you live it yourself, when you see a person killing, the blood everywhere, you are in shock,” Adria Gonzalez, a Walmart shopper at the time of the shooting, told CNN.