RIO DE JANEIRO – Authorities announced on Saturday the death of two more people after burglars attempted to carry out their activities in northeastern Brazil, taking stock of 14 dead.
Brazilian military police said the heavily armed group of assailants had taken hostages that were operating on the BR-116 federal highway around 2 am Friday. The highway leads to Milagres, a city of 30,000 inhabitants located in the state of Ceara.
The military police said the criminals were planning to take the hostages to two banks when they were shot at by the police.
According to them, eight suspected thieves and six hostages aged 13 to 60 were killed.
The mayor of Milagres, Lielson Macedo Landim, said Friday at the G1 news portal that the hostages had been executed by the criminal group and not killed by police fire. He said that two children were among the dead.
His account could not be verified.
Military police said Saturday that five of the criminals died in the shooting. Two others died a few hours later in a hospital and an eighth suspect was killed in a separate clash with police on the outskirts of Milagres.
Police said three others were arrested and that explosives, firearms and three vehicles were seized.
Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann described the episode as "tragedy".
"It will reduce the rates of violence, but unfortunately there are tragedies like this," the minister said on Friday.
In a press release, the military police said the security forces had succeeded in thwarting the assaults through "exchange of intelligence information".
Ceará is one of the most violent states in Brazil, with 59 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
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