At least 18 people were killed during a big police operation in a thick warren of Rio de Janeiro slums on Thursday, according to state military police, in the latest brutal clash in Brazil’s second-largest city.
Rio de Janeiro’s civil and military police stormed the Alemao complex to apprehend an accused criminal group. According to military police, the organization was plotting raids into rival slums and was suspected of cargo theft and bank robberies.
According to officials, at least 18 individuals were killed in the raid, including one cop, 16 accused criminals, and a female bystander. Around 400 policemen, four planes, and ten armored vehicles were part in the operation.
The disproportionate death toll sparked suspicions of human rights violations.
“There are signs of major human rights violations, and the possibility of this being one of the operations with the highest number of deaths in Rio de Janeiro,” stated the state public defender’s office in a statement.
Beyond their statement, the military police refused to comment.
Rio state police often conduct lethal raids in the city’s extensive slums. President Jair Bolsonaro favors police using harsh techniques to combat organized crime, saying criminals should “die like cockroaches.”
Following the raid, residents could be seen loading wounded persons into the backs of trucks to be transported to hospitals as police looked on. Police, according to Anacrim Human Rights Commission member Gilberto Santiago Lopes, declined to assist.