Crime & Justice

Brazilian gov’t sends forces to state under attack by gang

Brasilia, Mar 14 (EFE).- The Brazilian federal government said Tuesday that it will deploy the National Security Force in the northeastern coastal state of Rio Grande do Norte after a wave of shootings and arson attacks blamed on organized crime.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino authorized the dispatch of units of the elite police force to the state at the request of Gov. Fatima Bezerra.

“Other actions are being taken and will be announced later,” the minister said on social media.

Natal, the state capital, and at least 19 other cities in Rio Grande do Norte experienced fires and outbreaks of shooting during the wee hours of Tuesday.

One suspect was killed in a confrontation with police and 16 others are in custody, the state public safety department told EFE.

Assailants fired at police stations and government offices and set fire to vehicles, including school buses.

Authorities say the attacks were orchestrated by the Crime Syndicate gang, said to control drug trafficking in Rio Grande do Norte.

The bosses of the gang, which originated as an offshoot of the PCC, Brazil’s largest criminal organization, are unhappy with the treatment Syndicate members are receiving in prisons, state Public Safety Secretary Francisco Caninde told CNN Brasil. EFE wgm/dr

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