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Twelve killed during attempted bank heists in Brazil

08 December 2018

At least 12 people, including two children, were killed when police engaged in a shootout with bank robbers, according to authorities in northeastern Brazil.

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

Landin said "the criminals killed the hostages, and police killed the criminals".

Four of the hostages, including the child, were all from the same family, city mayor Lielson Landim told Radio Band News.

The attempted robbery of the two banks occurred around 2:30am (04:30 GMT).

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Broadcaster GloboNews said it was the family of a local businessman and that two suspects had been arrested by police. They were grabbed by the fleeing robbers on the highway when they were on the way to the nearby airport to catch a flight, he added.

The secretary for security in the state of Ceara, Andre Costa, said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out to identify those killed and the circumstances of their deaths.

"A heavily armed group arrived in the town in the early hours and went to the center of town, where they tried to commit the crime".

His account could not be immediately verified, as police did not respond to numerous email and phone requests for more information about the shootout or how the hostages died.

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

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G1 reported that the robbers "executed" the hostages when police turned up.

The gang escaped in two vans without taking any money, G1 said.

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

Latin America's largest nation routinely is the world leader in total annual homicides.

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Twelve killed during attempted bank heists in Brazil