At least 20 people were killed during an attempted mass breakout at a prison in Brazil

Fighting began inside the Santa Izabel Prison Complex in the northern Brazilian city of Belem when an armed group outside the jail used explosives to try to break the prisoners free.

Brazil’s state security service said that prison guards were battling with people inside and outside the jail and authorities are trying to establish whether any prisoners escaped.

In a statement it confirmed the use of explosives against one of the prison walls and said early investigations found that prisoners also had weapons inside the prison.

A guard was killed in the attack along with 19 prisoners and their accomplices helping from the outside. Four other guards were injured in the figthing.

Photo  AFP/Andressa Anholete