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  • Mural portrait of Marielle Franco in Brazil

    Mural portrait of Marielle Franco in Brazil | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 February 2020 (2 hours 15 minutes ago)
Opinion

 Nóbrega was shot in a rural area of the city of Esplanada, Salvador, the capital of Brazil's Bahia state.

Adriano da Nóbrega, the notorious hitman whose gang of hired killers was allegedly involved in the murder of Brazilian councilor, Marielle Franco, was gunned down by police on Sunday in the northeastern state of Bahia, where the suspect had been hiding from authorities.

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The former special forces police captain, who also had close ties to the family of the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, was shot in a rural area of the city of Esplanada, about 170 kilometers north of Salvador, the capital of Bahia.

Nóbrega was hiding on a country property owned by a councilman from the Social Liberal Party, the side that helped Bolsonaro to the presidency in 2018. Gilsinho de Dedé, the owner, said he had no idea Nóbrega was there and that he had never met the fugitive.

However, the murder of Nóbrega, a hitman, raises suspicions among those who demand justice. "Who benefits from the death of former special forces captain Adriano Nóbrega?" tweeted Monica Benicio, widow of Marielle Franco, the rising star in the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), who was murdered in March 2018.

"Who benefits from the death of former special forces captain Adriano Nóbrega?"

"Is this another case of elimination of witnesses, another attempt to obstruct justice? Who ordered the killing of our comrade -Marielle Franco-? We demand answers," PSOL congresswoman Sâmia Bomfim added on her Twitter profile. 

"Adriano da Nóbrega was an ally of the Bolsonaro clan and leader of the extermination group "crime office", he was accused of killing Marielle Franco. Burned file? Another attempt to obstruct justice? Who had our partner killed? We demand answers."

The police insisted that this is not the case. According to the head of Bahia State Security, Maurício Teles Barbosa, “we tried to carry out the arrest but the target opened fire on the officers and we had to respond in kind.”

But there is no doubt that the capture of Adriano da Nóbregas could have taken the investigation into Marielle's death to a new level, said José Alves, a social science professor at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro who has studied the state's paramilitary gangs.

"Adriano was a very violent person and perhaps he didn't want to give himself up alive. Also, it is possible that he was executed. But there is no doubt that he had many connections with the Bolsonaro family," said Marcelo Friexo, a leftist congressman very close to Franco.

Nóbrega's wife, Danielle Costa, and his mother, Raimunda Magalhães, worked in the office of Flávio Bolsonaro, the first born of Jair Bolsonaro. Also, as a state deputy, the president's son was crucial to Nóbrega's receiving a medal from the assembly while he was in prison on suspicion of murder. Nóbrega was later acquitted.

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