Interim President Michel Temer has authorized army deployments to help ensure security in Rio Grande do Norte state following recent attacks on buses and public property. The local government suspects the attacks are in retaliation for the use of mobile phone jammers at Parnamirim State Penitentiary in Natal.
The army reinforcements were requested by state governor Robinson Faria. According to a presidential spokesperson, they will “assist the state security forces,” who have reported 54 vandalism attacks including bus arson, shooting at public buildings, and use of explosives at a bank branch, since Friday (Jul. 29).
At least 51 people have been arrested for suspected involvement in the attacks, including João Maria dos Santos de Oliveira, a 32-year-old drug dealer known as João Mago, who is believed by the Intelligence Department of the State Secretariat of Public Security and Social Protection to be the mastermind behind the attacks.
At his home, police seized 68 mobile phones, a .380 and a .40 restricted-use pistol, four gun magazines, and ammunition. João Mago had been wanted since December, when he escaped from Parnamirim prison where he was serving his sentence.
Police also seized 30 molotov cocktails in an abandoned house in Natal and three gallons of fuel with the suspects. Mobile phones that had text messages with details of the bus attacks were confiscated.
Criminal actions have been confirmed to take place in several cities throughout the state.
According to Governor Robinson Faria, the attacks, which began on Friday, are “a response from the criminals as we set up mobile phone jammers at Parnamirim prison to prevent the inmates from continuing issuing orders from inside the prisons and crime continuing out here. We won't back off. We are going to show them the state is no hostage. I have let police free to work to protect the population,” Faria said.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.