Brazilian police ‘execute’ 13 people during drugs bust after Rio de Janeiro governor called for ‘shoot-to-kill’ crackdown on armed gangs
- Brazilian police have launched a crackdown on drugs gangs in Rio de Janeiro
- State governor recently authorised police to ‘shoot and kill’ armed criminals
- More than a dozen alleged gang members ‘executed’ by police in city last week
More than a dozen alleged gang members have reportedly been ‘executed’ by Brazilian police in Rio de Janeiro.
At least 13 people died during what was first reported as a shootout between armed gangs and police in several favelas in downtown Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
However, family members and locals claim many of the victims were unarmed and had already surrendered to police when they were killed.
At least 13 people were killed during police action in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, pictured, with authorities claiming it was a shootout – and locals say police ‘executed’ gang members
Residents say that while a majority of the victims were members of local drug-dealing gangs, at least one was a 16-year-old boy with ties to criminal organisations.
‘Nothing justifies this,’ Roberta Jeronimo, 23, whose 26-year-old brother Carlos was one of the gang members killed, told The Guardian.
‘They had surrendered. The police preferred to execute them.’
A mother of two of those killed, a 22-year-old gang members and his brother, 16, whom she says had no links to criminal activity, claims her sons were tortured.
This comes just weeks after the newly elected state governor said police officers had been authorised to ‘shoot and kill’ criminals armed with rifles.
Rio de Janeiro’s newly elected Governor Wilson Witzel, pictured last year, recently authorized police to ‘shoot and kill’ armed criminals
Friday’s victims died during clashes with agents of the Police Operations Command who were carrying out an operation against drug trafficking in the region
A woman kneels in the middle of a police operation that resulted in a shooting, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday
Wilson Witzel, who campaigned on promises to fight drug trafficking and corruption, has called drug traffickers ‘narco-terrorists’.
In his swearing-in speech on New Year’s Day, he said that drug dealers would ‘be treated like terrorists.’
‘Armed criminals have taken over and dominated portions of our territory, causing disgrace and disorder.
‘I will not allow this “parallel power” to continue,’ he said in the speech.
Witzel is an ally of the country’s new right-wing former Army captain turned president Jair Bolsonaro.
The 63-year-old , who was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after recovering from his third surgery since he was stabbed last year during campaign, was elected last year promising, among other things, to fight rising crime and prison gangs.
On the day he left hospital, Bolsonaro signed a decree that authorises the use of federal forces in prisons to deal with any potential riots.