UK & World News
Brazil: Girl Dies After Bus Fire Attack
Inmates of Brazil's most notorious jail are being blamed by police after a six-year-old girl was killed by a gang who torched a packed bus.
Ana Clara Santos Souza died three days after suffering 95% burns when armed men set fire to the vehicle while passengers were still on board.
Hundreds of people attended her funeral, demanding an end to a wave of gang-led terror that has swept the region since December.
Authorities in the northeastern city of Sao Luis believe the attack was ordered by gang leaders in revenge for a crackdown on violence in Pedrinhas prison.
CCTV footage shows a man board the bus and pull a handgun from his trousers.
As he orders people out of the vehicle, other armed gang members appear in the road and train their weapons on the terrified passengers.
The bus suddenly bursts into flames with people still on board, although at least one passenger manages to jump off.
But Ana appears to fall in the footwell of the bus before scrambling off engulfed in flames, which she desperately tries to put out.
Her family said the gang had ignored her mother's pleas for mercy.
A relative told Brazil's O Globo newspaper: "Her mother asked the criminals not to harm the children, but they showed no mercy and set fire to the girl."
Her father, Wenderson de Sousa, said: "I've just buried my daughter. It's terrible pain. There is no logic to this - such cruelty." His wife and one year-old daughter are still in hospital.
Four other people - including Ana's mother and older sister - were injured as four buses were set alight and a police station targeted in a drive-by shooting in the city on January 3.
The Maranhao state government says the attacks were ordered by criminals at the notorious Pedrinhas jail, where at least 62 inmates died last year.
Officials said in a statement: "The attacks are in reaction to recent measures to curb jail violence."
Brazil, which has the world's fourth-largest prison population, has been shocked by footage of the beheading of three Pedrinhas prisoners - apparently filmed on a mobile phone by other inmates.
The gruesome film is narrated by the killers, who gleefully display their victim's heads like trophies as they stand over pools of blood.
In October Maranhao asked for government help after several outbreaks of violence between rival gangs and military police were deployed after the beheadings in December.
Eight suspects have been arrested over the violence in Sao Luis and extra troops have been deployed across the city, state security secretary Aluisio Mendes said.
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