RN government says attacks on cities may have been retaliation for drug trafficking

RN government says attacks on cities may have been retaliation for drug trafficking
Calculation in progress

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An operation against drug trafficking last week may have been the trigger for a series of attacks on police bases and public buildings in cities in Rio Grande do Norte in the early hours of Tuesday (14). At least 18 municipalities, including the capital, Natal, had criminal actions with shots, fires and invasions, according to local press reports.

Among the municipalities with records of criminal actions are the city of São Miguel do Gostoso, a well-known tourist destination in the state, and Mossoró, where the Federal Penitentiary is located, which houses members of a criminal faction that operates inside and outside prisons. In this, the Civil Police seized gallons of fuel that would possibly be used in attacks.

According to images published on social networks and investigations by the local press, there were attacks on vehicles and on two Military Police bases in the capital, Natal, invasion of a health unit in Bela Vista, shots against the Santo Antônio city hall building and the Parnamirim Justice Forum, and dozens of reports of cars being set on fire at municipal secretariats and public bodies in other cities.

State security officials say one person died in a clash with police and two were arrested. According to the Secretary of State for Public Security, Francisco Canindé de Araújo Silva, the suspicion is that the attacks at dawn are related to operations carried out against drug trafficking.

“We do not have details of the motivation, but we believe that previous police actions, where there was a confrontation with offenders, including some who died. Police operations seized a large amount of drugs and weapons, so this made delinquency uneasy in wanting to confront the public security system,” he said.

According to the secretary, even on Monday afternoon (13) the intelligence of the security forces already had indications that attacks would be carried out in the cities, and that preventive actions began to be carried out. “We took these actions to mitigate what happened and, until 2 am, the actions stopped,” he said.

Canindé also stated that the entire police force was summoned to reinforce security on the streets of the state’s 167 municipalities, and that the federal government made the National Force available. The General Commander of the Military Police, Colonel Alarico José Azevedo, says that other arrests have already taken place between Monday night (13th) and early morning, and that more people may still be arrested.

However, he said it remains to be seen whether further attacks will be carried out. “We don’t have that information yet,” he said.

A balance sheet of the operation against criminals will be released later this Tuesday (14).

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