At least 12 people – including five hostages – were killed in northeastern Brazil on Friday after police foiled a gang of armed robbers staging simultaneous pre-dawn assaults on two banks in the town of Milagres, officials said.
The five dead hostages were members of the same family and included two children, the local mayor, Lielson Landim, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. They had been returning from a nearby airport when some of the robbers seized them.The secretary for security in the state of Ceara, Andre Costa, said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out to identify those killed and the circumstances of their deaths.
Costa did not say whose bullets killed the hostages. Landim had earlier said that, based on initial information, he understood that "the criminals killed the hostages and the police killed the criminals." Two suspects were arrested, according to Costa's office.
"A heavily armed group arrived in the town in the early hours and went to the center of town, where they tried to commit the crime. There was an exchange of fire between the suspects and police," it said. It said six gang members were killed and "another six people died from gunshots."
The identity of the 12th victim was not immediately clear. Various weapons and explosives as well as three vehicles used in the bank assaults were recovered.
(Video source: CGTN)