The death toll from a police operation against drug dealers in a favela in Rio de Janeiro has risen to at least 28, police said yesterday, in the latest report of the victims of the bloodiest police operation in the history of this Brazilian city.
The bodies of three other people pulled from the favela yesterday were men with links to organized crime, according to police. Twenty-four other people and a police officer were also killed in Thursday's operation in the Zakarezino favela in northern Rio.
"Intelligence confirmed that the dead were drug dealers. "They shot at police officers to kill them, on orders," police chief Alan Turnowski told reporters.
The bloodshed has drawn strong criticism from human rights groups, including Amnesty International, which has blamed police for the "reprehensible and unjustifiable" loss of life in a predominantly black and poor neighborhood.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) yesterday called for an independent inquiry into the police operation. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville spoke of "disproportionate and pointless" use of police force.