Report: Drug lords behind attacks on Brazil NGO

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A taped conversation between two convicted drug lords serving time in a prison in southern Brazil suggested the pair might be behind a spate of attacks on one of Rio de Janeiro’s most respected nongovernmental organizations, a television report has said.

Globo television network aired Sunday a transcript of the taped conversation between the drug bosses, known as Fernandinho Beira-Mar and Marcinho VP speaking via an internal phone system in the Catanduvas maximum security prison in the Parana state. In it Beira-Mar uses a well-known slang code to suggest an attack should be launched on the head of the Rio NGO AfroReggae, Jose Junior.

Just over two weeks after the May conversation, AfroReggae’s offices in the pacified “favela” slum of Alemao came under the first in a series of attacks, which saw the building first partially torched and then sprayed with bullets. The offices in Alemao and an AfroReggae office in another Rio favela were attacked a total of four times in recent weeks.

The tapes suggested the attacks might have been in retaliation for Junior’s accusations against popular evangelical pastor Marcos Pereira, who has been jailed since May on sexual abuse charges.

According to the transcript, Beira-Mar said, “It was Juninho who was behind all this,” using Junior’s nickname. “We have to send a message to him there.”

The word “message” is slang for a reprisal attack, the report cited police as saying.

Founded 20 years ago, AfroReggae uses art and music to work with young people who have been involved with gangs.

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