RIO DE JANEIRO – One school and two trucks set on fire Friday raised to 100 the number of attacks against establishments and vehicles recorded over the past two weeks in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, authorities said.
The wave of violence, which has left at least three people dead and 41 buses destroyed, has spread to 31 cities in Santa Catarina, whose authorities say the attacks are ordered by a criminal gang that rules inside the jails of this state bordering Argentina.
The criminal outfit is thought to have ordered the attacks in revenge for tougher police operations against drug trafficking.
After a truce of almost 48 hours, acts of violence broke out again Friday morning before dawn with an incendiary attack against a school in Penha, some 110 kilometers (68 miles) from Florianopolis, the state capital, and the setting ablaze of two trucks in the parking lot of a construction company in the city of Lages.
The watchman at the school said he only realized what was happening when he saw the flames.
Up to now some 75 people have been detained on suspicion of taking part in the attacks, including 18 minors.
The attacks have continued despite public security in Santa Catarina being reinforced with members of the National Security Force sent from Brasilia.
The Santa Catarina state government warned that it will not change the operations of its war on drug trafficking.
Besides adopting measure to guarantee security, the state government ordered that inmates in Santa Catarina jails thought to be promoters of the attacks be transferred to prisons in other states.
The wave of violence has forced public transportation companies to take their buses off the streets after dark and storekeepers to close their doors earlier than usual.