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The Brazil Bank Heist Update As An Armed Gang Takes Hostage In The Attack Of Cametá

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Brazil has faced two consecutive nights of violence as armed gang men seized hostages and stormed banks during separate incidents in the cities of Cametá and Criciúma.

An armed gang took to the streets of Cametá, in the north of the country in the early hours of Wednesday to rob a bank, according to early reports. It is unclear whether the situation is ongoing.

Several hostages were reportedly taken and the city’s mayor Waldoli Valenti said on Facebook that a young man has died.

The overnight attack in Cametá appears to be almost identical to the storming of a bank in the southern city of Criciúma in the early hours of Tuesday, according to Brazilian broadcaster Globo News.

Police look at equipment suspected of being used to make explosives at the scene of a bank robbery in Criciuma, Brazil, on December 1, 2020. A group of 30 heavily armed criminals entered a bank in Criciuma, Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil, taking hostages, blocking roads and exchanging gun fire with police.
GUILHERME CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

The Folha de São Paulo newspaper also said these attacks are increasingly common in Brazil, highlighting recent raids in cities such as Araraquara, Botucatu and Ourinhos.

What happened in Cametá?

A gang of armed men reportedly stormed Cametá, a city in Para state, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, attacking a bank and taking hostages.

Gunshots can be heard in video footage posted to social media with one clip appearing to show a large group of hostages being led through the streets.

Security forces have been sent to the scene although, it is currently unclear which bank in Cametá is being targeted or whether the incident is ongoing.

The governor of Para state, Helder Barbalho, said on Twitter in the early hours: “I am already in contact with the state public security summit following the measures that are being taken in this episode, in the municipality of Cametá.

“We will do our best to ensure that peace is resumed as soon as possible and that the criminals are arrested.”

The city’s mayor Waldoli Valenti said on Facebook that a young man has died.

He wrote: “In this difficult time our city is going through. I ask God to protect you all. Garrisons of the military police tactical forces are already in Camet á and we trust the security forces of our state to regain peace and security in Camet á. Besides holding everyone involved in this sad occurrence accountable.

“Our city has always been peaceful and I ask everyone to stay in their homes.
We also pray to God to comfort the family of the young man who lost his life in a cowardly way.”

What happened in Criciúma?

A group of around 30 bandits targeted a branch of Banco Do Brasil in Criciúma’s center from about midnight local time on Tuesday with the attack lasting about an hour and 45 minutes, according to Globo News.

The broadcaster reported that six workers from the Traffic and Transport Department (DTT) were taken hostage during the assault.

The hostages were seen on footage broadcast by Globo News, bound and shirtless, sitting in the pedestrian strip a few meters from the bank branch, presumably to hinder police action. They were reportedly released a couple hours later without injury.

The assailants blocked access to the city — including with burning vehicles — to prevent police reinforcements from responding swiftly, fired hundreds of shots and deployed explosives, Military Police of Santa Catarina said on Twitter.

The police also said: “The assailants exchanged shots with military police in the central area and in the 9th Military Police Battalion (BPM).

“The criminal action resulted in 2 targeted people identified, one of whom was a vigilante and a military policeman, shot in the abdomen,” they said, adding that the officer has had surgery and is in serious condition.

In a series of updates, they wrote: “The Military Police is engaged in a large organized operation since dawn for a prompt response in the searches of criminals,” and “The vehicles used for the crime were found and had bloodstains, indicating that criminals were shot by police. Four people have already been arrested.”

The police then announced that the soldier who had been shot is called Jeferson Luiz Esmeraldino, 32, and remains in the ICU under observation.

It is not clear how much money the attackers took but videos posted on social media appeared to show that some of their loot had escaped onto the street as residents rushed to gather some of the bills.

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