And armed gang reportedly attacked the town of Cametá (Pará state) in northern Brazil in the early hours of Wednedsay, December 2, in an apparent bank heist. The group targeted a military police station to prevent security forces from responding to the incident and allegedly used high calibre weapons and explosives during the attack. The group reportedly took hostages from bars and led them through the streets, before breaking into a bank. Unconfirmed reports indicate that one hostage died. The assault reportedly lasted for an hour, with the group leaving the city in cars and boats.
The attack comes a day after a similar incident in Criciúma (Santa Catarina state), in the south of Brazil, where armed men set fire to vehicles to block the entrances to the town, attacked a military police station, took hostages, and used automatic weapons and explosives to carry out a bank robbery. A security guard and police officer were injured in the attack. There is no evidence to suggest the two attacks are linked.
Further large-scale bank robberies are likely in Brazil over the near to medium term. A heightened security presence is likely in Criciúma and Cametá as police carry out investigations into the attacks.
Military-style attacks on banks have been on the rise in Brazil over the last five years. The incidents have spilled over into neighboring countries, with a Brazilian group carrying out a large-scale heist in Paraguay in 2017. Between $8 million and $40 million are estimated to have been stolen in the Paraguay heist, with one police officer killed and several people injured.
Individuals in Brazil are advised to remain vigilant at all times, report any suspicious activity to relevant authorities, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities due to high crime rates throughout Brazil.