104692551 brazilmilagres976 - Hostages die in foiled Brazil bank robberies
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Hostages die in foiled Brazil bank robberies

At least five hostages, including a child, have died as armed police battled robbers who had tried to raid two banks in north-east Brazil.

Six other people also died in the gun battle in the city of Milagres, reports say. It is not clear if they were robbers or police officers.

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

Two suspected robbers were arrested, Brazilian media reported.

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

According to initial reports, police surprised the robbers in the early hours of the morning and engaged them in a shootout. The gang then fled, grabbing the hostages on their way.

Mr Landim, quoted by Brazil’s Globo newspaper, said the gang had blocked a road with a truck and seized the family from a vehicle that was forced to stop.

“The criminals killed the hostages and the police killed the criminals,” he added.

However, a spokeswoman for the state governor said that 12 people had died, including six police officers.

Security officials said police had seized guns and explosives used by the gang. Three vehicles had been used in the attempted robberies on two bank branches, they added.

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