RIO DE JANEIRO — Closely-armed assailants stormed a small metropolis in southeast Brazil early Monday, in a brazen operation to rob banks that included explosives, charred automobiles and hostages that have been tied to the roof of cars.
The mayhem in Araçatuba, a metropolis that’s residence to some 200,000 in São Paulo state, left not less than three individuals useless, police officers stated Monday morning. The mayor urged residents to remain residence whereas police consultants sought to defuse 14 makeshift bombs that have been put in within the downtown space as a part of the assault.
Images and videos residents posted on social media confirmed a number of automobiles with hostages tied to the roof, a chilling tactic that appeared designed to forestall the police from opening hearth on getaway automobiles.
The assault was the most recent on a small metropolis in Brazil carried out by giant, well-trained teams of gunmen who’ve discovered it comparatively simple to overwhelm native safety forces whereas they ransack banks and companies in a single day.
“It was horrific,” the mayor of Araçatuba, Dilador Borges, stated in a televised interview early Monday, noting that the police held their hearth as soon as they realized the robbers had tied passers-by to their automobiles. “The police didn’t come nearer as a result of they noticed the hostages. The tragedy might have been far worse.”
Capt. Alexandre Guedes, a army police official, stated the assailants planted a number of explosive gadgets across the metropolis in an obvious effort to imperil a police response. The gunmen additionally used drones to watch the police response in actual time, investigators stated.
As of 10 a.m. on Monday, authorities stated not less than 10 of the suspected gunmen have been in custody. The three useless individuals included one suspected assailant and two residents, in keeping with the police.
One resident had his legs amputated after he was struck by one of many gadgets, police stated. Capt. Guedes stated investigators have been making an attempt to find out whether or not all hostages have been launched and whether or not any gunmen stay in Araçatuba.
“We’re making an attempt to avoid wasting lives and to defuse these explosives,” he stated in a televised interview.
Brazilian information shops printed images of financial institution branches within the metropolis that lay in ruins. However there was no estimate of how a lot the gunmen managed to steal.
The assault was paying homage to two prior to now yr which have terrorized related small cities. Final November, gunmen stormed town of Araraquara, additionally in São Paulo state, the place they set automobiles on hearth in strategic places to forestall police officers from responding successfully.
The next month, assailants opened hearth on a police station in Criciúma, in Santa Catarina state, the place they stole roughly $15 million from a Financial institution of Brazil regional workplace.