Violence rages in northeastern Brazil despite national police deployment

  • Police have killed two suspects after buses and cars were torched and gas stations were attacked in Fortaleza
PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 4:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 4:21am

The attacks and fire-bombings sweeping Brazil’s northeastern state of Ceara continued unabated Sunday despite the deployment of at least 300 members the elite, military-style National Police Force to help bring an end to the violence.

The state’s public security department said that buses and cars were torched and gas stations were attacked in Fortaleza, the capital, and in at least six other cities. Police killed two suspects in a shoot-out.

More than 100 people have been taken into custody since the violence that broke out on Wednesday.

Authorities have said the attacks were ordered by organised crime groups in retaliation for plans to impose tighter controls in the state’s prisons. Brazil’s prison gangs are powerful and their reach extends outside the country’s penitentiaries.

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The deployment of security forces in Ceara came days after the inauguration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who was elected on pledges to crack down on crime and give security forces a free hand against criminals.

Earlier, he praised the move, saying “the people of Ceara need help at this moment”.