Brazilian Nova Coari radio, in Amazonas state, in northern Brazil, was set on fire on February 8, 2010. The police have no definitive theory explaining the incident, but they have not dismissed the possibility of a politically motivated assault linked to supporters of Coari’s mayor, Arnaldo Mituoso.
According to João Moraes, from Coari’s police force, two armed men wearing motorcycle helmets with dark visors arrived at the scene around 9 am. They subdued the radio station’s employees and then burned down the station’s only studio.
The fire spread throughout the whole building. Nevertheless, no one was harmed. Before leaving the site, one of the criminals is reported to have said, “Let’s go, we did our job.”
It is the third attack on the radio station, according to its owner and director-president, Aguinaldo Mendes. The station had already survived two other fires in August and September 2009.
Mendes suspects the attack was motivated by the radio station’s reports on Mituoso’s administration. “I cannot accuse anyone, but every time a subject regarding the administration is mentioned, someone tried to set the radio station on fire,” he said. The station’s owner also mentioned three lawsuits the mayor has filed against the station.
Recently, the station had covered a delay in paying the town’s employees and announced the debut of a new show that would approach politics “more vehemently,” explained the director-president.
In an interview with the newspaper “A Crítica,” the representative of the mayor’s office in Manaus, Wilson Cavalcanti, denied any involvement of the mayor in the incident.
Antônio Maduro, the officer in charge of Coari’s police force, affirms that there is no concrete evidence that the assault has any connection with the mayor and that the investigation continues.
Wanderson Nilton de Paula Lima, a.k.a. “Andinho”, who was suspected of being behind a January 21st, 2009, attempted grenade attack on the Correio Popular newspaper in the city of Campina, São Paulo state, confessed to the crime, February 1st 2010, while providing a statement to the Fifth Chamber of the Criminal Court of Justice.
According to Andinho’s testimony, the action against the newspaper was in retaliation for the publication of an account of his crimes and a story about his wedding, which took place inside a prison.
The police are investigating Andinho’s wife and five other people who have been accused of participating in the attack.
Andinho is one of the leaders of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC – Capital’s First Command) criminal organization. He was in prison when the grenade was thrown inside the newspaper’s headquarters.
The newspaper belongs to the Anhanguera de Comunicação network, which includes the “Notícias Já” and “Diário do Povo” newspapers, the “Metrópole” magazine and the Cosmo Online website). The grenade did not explode or cause any damage.