By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Justice Minister of Brazil, Alexandre de Moraes vehemently denied rumors of the existence of another terrorist group planning attacks during Rio’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “There is no second group,” he told reporters yesterday (Monday, July 25th).
According to Moraes there is currently no evidence to indicate other terrorist attacks in Rio. The Brazilian official, however, said that the country’s intelligence unit will continue to monitor internet and social media chatter. “We have, in fact, hundreds people who are being monitored, but there is no sign of any (terrorist) plan,” he added.
Moraes said that Brazil’s federal police are part of integrated antiterrorism group and counts on the direct help of six countries: United States, France, Belgium, England, Argentina and Paraguay. Moraes also said that the twelfth and last member of the group arrested last week was apprehended Sunday and was being sent to a maximum-security facility.
Last Thursday, a group of ten men who called themselves Supporters of Sharia (Islamic law) were arrested after authorities intercepted messages between them on social media which spoke about preparations for a terrorist attack in Brazil during the Games. An eleventh member of the group turned himself in on Friday while the last was captured on Sunday.
According to local media, Brazilian authorities not only counted on the help of foreign intelligence agents, but also assistance from social media giants Twitter and Facebook. On TV Globo’s Fantastico program Sunday night Judge Marcos Josegrei da Silva confirmed that the two social media outlets had cooperated with authorities by giving investigators information about the suspects’ social media accounts.