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News > Brazil

Brazil: Northeastern Cities Under Attack for Third Day in a Row

  • Bus set on fire in a northeastern Brazilian city, March 16, 2023.

    Bus set on fire in a northeastern Brazilian city, March 16, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @CentraNewsGT

Published 16 March 2023

According to police investigations, the acts of vandalism were carried out by drug traffickers acting in retaliation for tightening controls in prisons.

On Thursday, the "Crime Syndicate" continued carrying out violent actions for the third consecutive day in the municipalities of the state of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil.


Brazilian National Force in Rio Grande do Norte After Attacks

Its attacks occurred despite the fact that the Justice Ministry on Wednesday sent troops from the "National Force," an elite body of Police. The unusual events, however, began earlier.

Since Tuesday, local authorities have reported shootings and fires against vehicles, businesses, banks, and public institutions in some 20 cities of Rio Grande do Norte.

Although the number of attacks has decreased since then, Governor Fatioma Bezerra acknowledged that the situation has not yet returned to normal.

Between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, criminal groups set fire to vehicles in cities such as Natal, Joao Camara, and Sao Paulo do Potengi. They also burned a supermarket in Sao Goncalo do Amarante.

The tweet reads, "Rio Grande do Norte has no government. The state is handed over to organized crime."

These attacks forced the suspension of municipal transport services in Natal, the capital city of Rio Grande do Norte state, which has some 900,000 inhabitants.

According to the latest official report, the Military Police have arrested 57 suspects and confiscated 46 explosive devices, 15 firearms, 10 gasoline drums, money, drugs, and ammunition. Two people died in clashes with the Police.

The Crime Syndicate is an illegal organization that dominates drug trafficking in the region and operates from inside prisons. It emerged a decade ago as a dissident of the First Command of the Capital (PCC), which is Brazil's largest criminal organization and already has ramifications in other Latin American countries.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the actions of the Crime Syndicate constitute a retaliation for the hardening of policies to combat crime inside the regional prison system.

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