SAO PAULO: A rash of criminal attacks, including the torching of buses and firing on police, have been reported across the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, and authorities blame them on a crackdown on drug trafficking and a prison-based gang.
In the latest incidents, a 22-year-old suspected criminal was killed in an overnight shootout with police in Joinville, in the north of the state, while shots were fired at police and three buses and two carts torched across the state.
Around 20 people have been reported arrested since the night attacks on buses and police stations started Wednesday.
A statement from the Santa Catarina public security secretariat in Florianopolis linked the attacks to a stepped up crackdown by joint state and federal law-enforcement agencies on criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking.
Santa Catarina state officials announced a series of measures to contain the violence, including beefing up police with elite, quick-reaction units.