Brazil mourns children killed in pre-school attack

BLUMENAU, Brazil – The families of four children killed at a Brazilian pre-school held emotional funerals for them on Thursday, a day after an attacker murdered them with a hatchet in a crime that has shocked the nation.

Brazil is still reeling from Wednesday’s attack, in which authorities say a 25-year-old man with a history of violent behaviour jumped a wall to get into the pre-school in the southern city of Blumenau and went on a murderous rampage on the playground.

Devastated family members gathered to mourn the four victims, who were from four to seven years old, as residents left flowers and teddy bears outside the school.

At one funeral attended by AFP, pallbearers carried a small white casket to be buried at a local cemetery, as grieving loved ones sobbed.

A victim’s aunt described her shock.

“I never imagined I’d be coming to Blumenau for my niece’s funeral. I just saw her in January,” the woman, Ms Salete Maia da Silva, told newspaper O Globo.

The girl’s grandmother, 71-year-old Helena Ibanez, said she was still struggling to believe what had happened.

“A grandmother should never have to bury her grandchild,” she said.

Four other children aged three to five were wounded in the attack. The hospital treating them said they had been released after undergoing surgery.

“They are back with their families,” the Santo Antonio hospital said in a statement.

“One patient has an injury to his jaw that will be treated on an outpatient basis.”

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