Thursday 20 June 2019

Eleven people killed reportedly killed in gun attack at a bar in Brazil

Policemen are seen at a site where, according to local media, an armed group entered and opened fire at a bar, killing and wounding its patrons, in Belem, Para state, Brazil
REUTERS/Mauro Angelo
Policemen are seen at a site where, according to local media, an armed group entered and opened fire at a bar, killing and wounding its patrons, in Belem, Para state, Brazil REUTERS/Mauro Angelo
A man is seen next to a body where, according to local media, an armed group had entered and opened fire in a bar, killing and wounding its patrons, in Para state, Brazil REUTERS/Mauro Angelo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

ELEVEN people have been killed after gunmen reportedly attacked a bar in the capital of Brazil's northern Para state.

The state security agency confirmed that six women and five men died in the incident in the Guama area of Para's state capital, Belem.

The G1 news website said police claimed seven gunmen were involved in the attack, which left one other person wounded.

In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belem to reinforce security in the city for 90 days.

A man is seen next to a body where, according to local media, an armed group had entered and opened fire in a bar, killing and wounding its patrons, in Para state, Brazil REUTERS/Mauro Angelo
A man is seen next to a body where, according to local media, an armed group had entered and opened fire in a bar, killing and wounding its patrons, in Para state, Brazil REUTERS/Mauro Angelo

Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70 per cent of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.

Much of Brazil's violence is gang-related. In January, gang attacks brought the city of Fortaleza to a standstill with commerce, buses and taxis shut down.

Rio de Janeiro, the country's second-biggest city, experiences daily shootouts between rival gangs and also between police and criminals, battles that often result in the deaths of innocent bystanders.

Fogo Cruzado, a group that monitors shootings in the Rio metropolitan area, said there were 2,300 shootings in Rio and its suburbs during the first 100 days of this year.

Killings attributed to police gunfire in Rio de Janeiro state have reached a record high, rising 18pc in the first three months - a spike partly attributed to a campaign of a zero tolerance for criminals being pushed by state leaders.

One of new president Jair Bolsonaro's main campaign promises was that he would loosen Brazil's strict gun laws, arguing that because criminals are well-armed with illegally obtained guns, "upstanding citizens" should have the right to defend themselves with legally bought weapons.

Mr Bolsonaro has made good on that promise with two presidential decrees to make buying guns easier, though federal prosecutors are hoping to block this move through the courts.

Press Association

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