STORY: The attacks on buses were concentrated in the west of the city, where rival criminal groups are fighting for territorial control. They came after a police operation that killed the nephew of the leader of the state’s largest militia, according to the police.
Rio’s so-called militias, often composed of current and former police officers, have become one of the region’s largest security threats. Originally set up as self-defense forces for poor neighborhoods blighted by drug gangs, they have now metastasized into criminal outfits operating in multiple different rackets.
Industry group Rio Onibus said 20 of the vehicles were city buses, five were part of the city’s rapid transit fleet and the remainder were chartered or tourism buses.
The Military Police said it arrested 12 suspects involved in the fires, in addition to preventing 15 individuals from setting a cargo truck on fire in one of the city’s main gateways.