Brazil armed bank robbers use hostages as human shields by strapping them to getaway cars

In the early hours of Monday, around 20 robbers armed with machine guns, bombs and drones are reported to have raided three banks in the city of Araçatuba, Brazil. The robbers also attacked the local police station and blocked roads into the city by setting cars on fire.

Na fuga, os reféns foram amarrados nos veículos. Tentativa de impedir qualquer contra-ataque da polícia ao grupo. Deus guarde essas pessoas e todos de Araçatuba. Todas as agências bancárias do centro foram invadidas – informações preliminares.

— Yuri Macri (@yurimacri)

Footage posted by journalist Yuri Macri shows gunmen kidnapping locals and tying them to two of their cars as they made their escape.

The first car has a person tied to its roof and another to its hood, while the second has a person crouching on the hood.

CCTV footage posted by another Twitter user shows multiple cars driving through the city, some with people tied to the hoods, while another person can be seen holding up his hands while standing up through the van’s sunroof.

Aflição total, meu Deus, oremos por todas essas pessoas que estão sendo feitas de reféns nesse mega assalto aqui em Araçatuba ������������������

— thales (@thalespatrizzi)

At least three have been reported dead, including two civilians and one robber.

Two suspects have been arrested, according to Brazilian media.

The mayor of Araçatuba, Dilador Borges, told Brazilian network Band TV: “The police can’t go on the attack, they can’t confront them because there are too many lives on the line.”

He added that he could not confirm whether the robbers had freed the hostages yet but said security forces had retaken control of the city centre.

The mayor also urged people to stay indoors, warning that the robbers had placed explosive devices across the city. He said he had phoned the state governor to ask for reinforcements to be deployed to Araçatuba.

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