By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Ceará state transfers twenty leaders of organized crime jailed in the state to federal prisons to try to curb the wave of violence that has gripped the state since Thursday (January 3rd). According to the state’s governor with the help of federal forces, the attacks will subside.

Brazil,National troops were sent to Fortaleza to help halt the surge in violence in the city and Ceara state.
National troops were sent to Fortaleza to help halt the surge in violence in the city and Ceara state, photo by Jose Cruz/Agencia Brasil.

“By my determination, all the security forces of Ceará are on permanent duty to stop these actions, arrest the bandits and protect our population,” said Ceara’s governor.

Since Thursday, the state has faced a wave attacks with the burning of vehicles, public buildings, banking and commercial establishments and security equipment. The attacks, according to officials were ordered by the heads of organized crime groups as a reprisal to the announcement of measures to tighten the rules in the state prison system.

On Friday night, Brazil’s new Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, ordered 300 men from the National Security Force to be deployed to Ceara’s capital Fortaleza, to help state law enforcement for at least thirty days.

The city has faced chaos in its public transportation system with many busses being burned by criminals. Officials have determined that this week, starting at midnight, twenty ‘night owl’ bus lines will be escorted by the Military Police in their routes.

On Sunday Ceara’s Secretariat of Public Security and Social Defense (SSPDS) confirmed the arrest of 110 persons suspected of involvement in the recent fire attacks. Police also reported the deaths of at least three people, allegedly in confrontation with the security forces.

Overcrowding is a major problem in the state as it is in many other parts of Brazil. Ceara’s prison population exceeds 29,500 while the total number of vacancies is just over 13,000: an overpopulation of almost sixty percent, according to the latest state government data.

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