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June 24 2013

MerelyGifted
20:34

November 12 2012

09:14

São Paulo murder spree leaves at least 140 dead in a fortnight | World news | guardian.co.uk

It was a more than typically murderous Saturday night in São Paulo: at 10pm, in the São Bernardo do Campo neighbourhood, a motorcyclist rode up to a private home, killed two of the residents, then sped away. An hour or so later in a nearby district, police shot and killed two men in what they said was an exchange of fire. Elsewhere police found the body of a man with a bullet through his brain – one of 14 people murdered and 12 injured in this single night amid a rising wave of violence in Brazil’s biggest city.

At least 140 people have been murdered in São Paulo over the past two weeks in an outbreak of violent crime that has prompted early school closures, a change of municipal bus routes and street demonstrations. In September 144 people were killed. The causes are manifold, but a major factor appears to be an undeclared war between the largest criminal militia and the police, which has led to drive-by shootings, ambushes and other killings.

After initially denying the link, officials from the public safety department told local newspapers at the weekend that many of the killings of police had been ordered by imprisoned leaders of the First Capital Command criminal group in reprisal for a crackdown on the drug trade.

Non-governmental organisations, however, say the responsibility also lies with militias formed by former and serving police officers, who are used to skimming profits off the drug trade. So far this year, 92 former and current police officers have been gunned down.

Last week state and federal police said they would combine forces to create a new intelligence agency to counter the resurgent threat posed by organised crime. …

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