Brazilian city of Manaus targeted by arson attacks after death of criminal leader

State officials said criminal gangs in Manaus organized the arson attacks from prison, in retribution for the reported death of one of their leaders during a police raid on Saturday. Images of the weekend’s damage show burned-out buses and bank offices filled with rubble.

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A message circulating on social media purportedly by a criminal faction known as Red Command calls for a curfew in Manaus on Sunday afternoon. CNN could not verify the message’s origins.

But the threat of further violence has already had a tangible effect on life in the city. Manaus businessman Guilherme Lins told CNN that he canceled his plans for Sunday after receiving the message on social media and reading the local news.

“People are scared because they don’t trust that the police are capable of controlling these attacks. I won’t go out to the streets until it ends,” said Lins, who was born and raised in Manaus.

A police officer checks a branch of Bradesco bank damaged in Manaus, Brazil, June 6, 2021.

Amazonas state Governor Wilson Lima said on social media that he had ordered police command to put more patrols on the streets of Manaus on Sunday, and announced the creation of a committee to investigate the crimes.

Manaus is a strategic outpost on the international trafficking route of drugs produced in Colombia and Peru. Fighting between rival criminal factions led to massacres of inmates in city jails in both 2017 and 2019.

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