Brasilia, Aug 3 : At least 45 people have died in police raids targeting drug gangs across three states in Brazil, the media reported.
In the latest operation on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, the police said that 10 people were killed during a shootout in the Complexo da Penha — a group of favelas in the north of the city, the BBC reported.
Local media reports have said that the victims included a drug trafficking kingpin, while four people were also injured.
The city’s military police said the operation in Complexo da Penha was launched after intelligence information suggested that a meeting of drug traffic ringleaders would be taking place in the area.Schools around Complexo da Penha did not open on Wednesday, forcing about 3,220 students to stay at home.
Rio de Janeiro is one of Brazil’s most violent states.
Meanwhile in the north-eastern state of Bahia, clashes between police and gang members occurred between July 28 and Monday in the three cities of Salvador, Itatim and Camacari, the BBC reported.
In Camacari, seven people were killed on July 28, while Itatim reported eight fatalities during violent clashes on Sunday.
In Salvador, clashes between police and armed suspects led to the deaths of four people, while schools also remained shut on Tuesday.
Guns, phones and drugs were seized during the Bahia operations.
During a five-day police raid in Sao Paolo state dubbed ‘Operation Shield’, 16 people were killed and 58 others arrested.
The operation began on July 28 after a special forces police officer was killed the previous day in the coastal town of Guaruja.
But the police operations have also received widespread condemnation, reports the BBC.
The operation in Guaruja was criticised by Justice Minister Flavio Dino, who said the police’s reaction was not proportional to the crime committed.
Condemning the operation in Complexo da Penha, member of the Rio state legislature Taliria Petrone said there was “no explanation for the state to continue turning life in favelas into a hell like this”.
Meanwhile, Instituto Fogo Cruzado, an organisation that looks into armed violence data in Brazil, described the raids as “mass killings”.
In a statement published after the police raid in Rio, the institute said there had been 33 such incidents in the city since the start of the year, with a total of 125 people dead.
Amid increasing calls to look into human rights abuses committed by the police in Brazil, there have been some initiatives to improve the situation.
Since 2020, Sao Paulo’s military police have worn cameras on their uniforms — and in the first two years of the programme, the number of people killed by police fell by 61 per cent.
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