Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

At least 12 killed in shootout during attempted bank robbery

At least 12 killed in shootout during attempted bank robbery

This handout photo released by the Civil Police of Ceara shows explosives seized by the police after a shootout with bank robbers, in Milagres, in Brazil's state of Ceara, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

The mayor of Milagres, in Ceara state, said the hostages were killed by their captors as police moved in.

Milagres Mayor Lielson Landin told a local radio station that robbers attempting to flee hijacked the family of five's auto on the highway in an attempt to catch a flight at a nearby airport.

The mayor of Milagres, Lielson Landin, told Radio Band News that four of the hostages, including the child, were all from the same family.

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 centre where they tried to commit the crime", a statement from his office said. As the police approached the suspects, the robbers executed the family.

However, a spokeswoman for the state governor said that 12 people had died, including six police officers.

They were reportedly travelling to the nearby airport when the gang took them hostage while making their escape.

Various weapons and explosives as well as three vehicles used in the bank assaults were recovered.

The attempted robbery was interrupted by a police unit that had been tracking a gang responsible for similar bank robberies in the area.

Robbers at one bank took several people hostage when police surrounded the area, according to a police statement. "I stayed inside my home, cowering and afraid", a local resident, Mendonca de Santa Helena, told media.

"I heard screaming and people crying", he added.

Brazil is one of the most violent countries in the world, suffering almost 64,000 murders past year - a homicide rate of 30.8 per 100,000 inhabitants that is three times higher than the level the United Nations considers to be endemic violence.

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