SAO PAULO-At least 43 people have been killed in police operations against drug gangs in two Brazilian states since last week, authorities said Tuesday, triggering calls for independent investigations. In the southeastern state of Sao Paulo, Governor Tarcisio de Freitas said police had killed 14 suspects after coming under fire during a massive anti-gang operation launched after an officer was shot dead Thursday in the port city of Guaruja. In the northeastern state of Bahia, officials meanwhile said 19 suspects in three different cities had been killed since Friday in clashes with police. In all the cases, authorities said police had returned fire after coming under attack. However, the killings drew criticism from rights groups in Brazil, where accusations of abuses by security forces are frequent.
The Sao Paulo operation was launched Friday, a day after a 30-year-old police special forces officer was shot dead while on patrol in Guaruja, one of several ports that feed the Brazilian economic capital.