Criminals robbing criminals, bodies cut open and thrown into rivers and arrests on stormy days are some of the recent stories related to piracy along the Amazon River and its tributaries.
BELÉM, Brazil – Pirates aren’t limited to operating on the high seas. Even on the rivers of the Amazon region, there are gangs that specialize in overtaking and pillaging all types of vessels.
Recent incidents show river pirates of the Amazon may be just as cruel as the Somali pirates portrayed in Captain Phillips, the Oscar-nominated film that tells the story of a ship overrun by pirates on the Indian Ocean.
In February 2013, the body of the owner of a speedboat was found in the Rio Negro River in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas. He had been killed by the gang known as Piratas do Rio Negro.
Also known as Barriga D’água, the gang has robbed vessels, killed their victims and thrown their bodies into the river, with the abdomens sliced open so the bodies wouldn’t float.
The gang’s alleged leader, Arlindo Jabelo de Sena, was arrested last May. He has been charged with three robberies, but the police suspect he has committed at least another 10 crimes along the riverside in Manaus and municipalities in Amazonas.
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