RIO DE JANEIRO — Heavily-armed assailants stormed a small metropolis in southeast Brazil early Monday, in a brazen operation to rob banks that included explosives, charred autos and hostages that had been tied to the roof of cars.
The mayhem in Araçatuba, a metropolis that’s house to some 200,000 in São Paulo state, left no less than three individuals useless, police officers mentioned Monday morning. The mayor urged residents to remain house whereas police specialists sought to defuse 14 makeshift bombs that had been put in within the downtown space as a part of the assault.
Photos 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 fireplace on getaway autos.
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 straightforward to overwhelm native safety forces whereas they ransack banks and companies in a single day.
“It was horrific,” the mayor of Araçatuba, Dilador Borges, mentioned in a televised interview early Monday, noting that the police held their fireplace as soon as they realized the robbers had tied passers-by to their automobiles. “The police didn’t come closer because they saw the hostages. The tragedy could have been far worse.”
Capt. Alexandre Guedes, a navy police official, mentioned the assailants planted a number of explosive units across the metropolis in an obvious effort to imperil a police response. The gunmen additionally used drones to observe the police response in actual time, investigators mentioned.
As of 10 a.m. on Monday, authorities mentioned no less than 10 of the suspected gunmen had been in custody. The three useless individuals included one suspected assailant and two residents, based on the police.
One resident had his legs amputated after he was struck by one of many units, police mentioned. Capt. Guedes mentioned investigators had 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 trying to save lives and to defuse these explosives,” he mentioned in a televised interview.
Brazilian information retailers revealed photographs of financial institution branches within the metropolis that lay in ruins. But there was no estimate of how a lot the gunmen managed to steal.
The assault was harking back to two prior to now 12 months which have terrorized comparable small cities. Last November, gunmen stormed the town of Araraquara, additionally in São Paulo state, the place they set automobiles on fireplace in strategic areas to forestall police officers from responding successfully.
The following month, assailants opened fireplace on a police station in Criciúma, in Santa Catarina state, the place they stole roughly $15 million from a Bank of Brazil regional workplace.