Brazil: 10 Killings per Day after Truce Dissolution
A rocky six-year truce between Brazilian police and gang members is now over in Sao Paulo, AP reports. And a surge in violence has descended upon the city’s slum neighborhoods. In the past two weeks alone, the metro area has seen more than 10 killings per day.
Seven people were killed in a single night last week in the Vila Brasilandia shantytown, including a police officer. Days later, gunmen shot up a bar, killing a 13-year-old boy and three adults.
Sao Paulo, which is to host the World Cup opening match in 2014, has seen nearly 150 homicides over the past two weeks and 94 police executed this year, according to Brazil’s department of Public Safety.
Regional security experts say that a powerful prison-based gang, the First Capital Command, is behind the violence. The gang likely feels that the government has violated an informal agreement, long denied by officials, to slow the prison transfers of gang leaders and limit crackdowns on its operations in Sao Paulo's outskirts in exchange for an end to gang violence.
The First Capital Command is allegedly based in Sao Paulo state prisons, and was allegedly behind several waves of attacks on police, government buildings, banks and public buses in 2006. Those assaults and counterattacks by police in the slums killed more than 200 people.
With the latest violence, shops and schools in some Sao Paulo districts closed early this past week as rumors of gang-imposed curfews spread, AP reports.
And though Brazil has responded by setting up multiple task forces and strategies to curb the swell of violence, there is still an abiding “climate of insecurity” throughout the country.