Brazil's Justice Minister Anderson Torres Monday gave the green light for national forces to intervene in the capital city of the state of Amazonia, Manaus, which has been ransacked by acts of violence and looting over the past month, was announced.
Torres was thus acknowledging requests for help from local authorities after vehicles were set on fire, bank branches were destroyed, and public buildings were attacked.
State governor Wilson Lima said Monday morning he had asked the federal government for help as the situation had gone out of control.
At the request of the governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima, and aiming to help restore peace and order in the state capital, I have just authorized the use of the National Force in Manaus, Torres said. He added that the operational planning would be defined by the National Public Security Secretariat.
According to the Secretary of Public Security of Amazonas, Colonel Louismar Bonates, 31 people suspected of involvement in the attacks have already been arrested. Among these prisoners, according to the secretary, are two people who had planned the attacks.
Our effectiveness is small for the volume of actions. The troops will have a time when they won't be able to touch capital and interior. It was suggested, and the governor accepted the decision to ask for support from the National Force, stated Bonates when defending the sending the National Force to the State.
Faced with the wave of attacks, bus lines in Manaus began to circulate with restrictions this Monday, only until 19:00. Transport availability for Tuesday was still unknown by dawn as national guard troops were arriving. More than 15 buses were set on fire in the Amazonian capital.
The city is going through a series of arson attacks and gunfire, which were allegedly ordered from jailed members of the Comando Vermelho criminal gang in retaliation for the death of a drug dealer.
Manaus has been experiencing, since last Saturday (06/05), a series of attacks, with acts of arsonists against public transport, bank agencies and other establishments, in a wave of violence that practically paralyzed the city.
Erick Batista Costa, known as Dadinho, 30, was killed in police action on Saturday in the Redenção neighbourhood. The order for the attacks would have come from members of the criminal group allied with Dadinho, from inside a prison. The Comando Vermelho has controlled Amazonas state prisons since January 2020, when it defeated the rival Família do Norte (FDN).
The state of Amazonas is one of the main ports of entry for cocaine into the country, through the Solimões River, and exit towards the Northeast of Brazil and Europe.
The attacks started at dawn from Saturday (06/05) to Sunday. Several vehicles were set on fire, and public buildings were destroyed, including police stations. There were also reports of attacks in at least three smaller towns in the interior of Amazonas. In most of the attacks, criminals used homemade bombs, such as Molotov cocktails.
But there was also a series of shooting attacks, such as against a building of the Integrated Police District (DIP) in downtown Manaus, on the banks of the Rio Negro. In this case, men took advantage of the river's historic flood to arrive in a speedboat.
Another place that also suffered shooting attacks was the headquarters of the Union of Passenger Transport Companies of the State of Amazonas (Sinetram).
Since Sunday, Manaus public transport buses do not leave the streets. On-site classes in the state and private schools are suspended, as is the vaccination campaign against covid-19. Several other public services were also stopped.
As of Monday, 29 people had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the wave of violence. Governor Lima (PSC) asked the federal government to send the National Force to help contain the attacks, while Manaus Mayor David Almeida, defended on Sunday that the state government asks for the presence of the Army on the streets of Manaus.