Brazil deploys troops to contain criminal violence in northern city
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Brazil deploys troops to contain criminal violence in northern city

State-run media cited officials as saying special troops had been deployed on Saturday to stop a surge of criminal attacks on banks, buses, and shops in Fortaleza in recent weeks. Agencia Brasil news agency said 300 troops would be patrolling Fortaleza and other towns in Ceara State in a bid to halt the violence. The move is seen as President Jair Bolsonaro’s first attempt at restoring order to the country since he took office last Tuesday. A right-wing former paratrooper, Bolsonaro has made law and order a centerpiece of his presidency. He has vowed to fight rampant crime in the country by extending immunity to soldiers and police using lethal force, as well as easing gun laws so “good” citizens can defend themselves against armed criminal gangs. Mission: Ending impunity Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister Sergio Moro said earlier that ending the impunity of powerful criminals was his top priority. Moro, a former judge who led the “Car Wash” investigation into a huge corruption scandal that indicted two former presidents, ordered the deployment of the troops after concluding that Ceara police had been overwhelmed by powerful gangs. This week, about 80 attacks by three gangs were reported in towns across Ceara State. In Fortaleza alone, dozens of attacks were reported, which forced residents to stay home. Some 50 suspects have been arrested. The three rivaling gangs wreaking havoc in the region are the so-called Red Command (known as CV, its abbreviation in Portuguese), which grew out of organized criminal activity in Rio de Janeiro, the so-called First Command of the Capital (PCC), based in Sao Paulo, and a group calling itself the Guardians of the State (GDE). The CV and the PCC gangs are said to have agreed on a truce with each other in Ceara to focus against the government troops.

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