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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Brazil death squad 'guns down 30'
Mourning relatives
Military police are suspected of being behind the killings
A death squad has killed at least 30 people in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, police say.

Several teenagers and a child were among those gunned down on Thursday night in towns in the districts of Queimados and Nova Iguacu.

Authorities say they are looking at the possible role of what they call rogue police, in a potential act of reprisal for recent arrests of eight officers.

Rights groups accuse police of carrying out a 1993 massacre in the state.

Twenty-one people were killed.

'Rain of gunfire'

Rio Public Security Secretary Marcelo Itagiba said he suspected the involvement of military police in Thursday's incident.

Map of Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil

"The Security Secretariat is working with the hypothesis that this massacre was an act of reprisal for operation Navalha na Carne," he said.

Witnesses told reporters that the gunmen pulled up and opened fire, leaving victims no time to escape.

"It was very quick. I got up to my house and went down the hallway when I heard a rain of gunfire," Creuza Regina said.

In Nova Iguacu the attackers targeted a bar, in what Brazilian reports describe as a drive-by shooting.

Rio is one of the most violent cities in the world.

Rival drugs gangs are in control of many slum areas, known as favelas.

Witnesses say no-one had time to escape the gunmen

Brazil warned of slum 'bloodbath'
07 Oct 04 |  Americas
Drugs violence abates in Rio slum
14 Apr 04 |  Americas
Controversial Rio raids under way
09 Mar 04 |  Americas
Rio 'worse than a war zone'
09 Sep 02 |  Americas
Country profile: Brazil
20 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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