June 26, 2006

Sao Paulo police kill 13, say preempts attacks

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian police gunned down
13 suspects in two clashes in Sao Paulo state on Monday, saying
the actions prevented a new round of attacks similar to a wave
of gangster violence last month in which nearly 200 people were

A state security spokeswoman said the criminal organization
responsible for the bloodshed in May, the First Command of the
Capital (PCC), had been preparing new attacks on prisons in Sao
Paulo's industrial satellite towns of Sao Bernardo do Campo and

Police discovered their plans by bugging the phones of

Ten men in Sao Bernardo were killed in a shootout at a gas
station on Monday morning after they resisted arrest and fired
on police, the spokeswoman said. Police also killed three men
at a square in Diadema. Seven suspects, including a woman, were

All the dead suspects and all those arrested have previous
criminal records. Police seized 15 weapons.

Sao Paulo state Gov. Claudio Lembo told a news conference
that security forces had managed to frustrate plans by the PCC
to repeat the havoc of May.

"They threatened us at the time of the Brazil (soccer World
Cup) game last week but we managed to spoil their plans. They
tried again this morning, but were defeated in a tough way.
They wanted to stage those spectacular actions again, but were
defeated," he said.

Last month PCC gangsters attacked police posts and other
targets across Sao Paulo in the worst wave of violence in
modern history. The offensive was unleashed in retaliation for
the transfer of PCC leaders to a remote prison.

However, police are under scrutiny for their response to
the violence. Human rights groups and public prosecutors have
complained that innocent people and suspects may have been
summarily executed by police or death squads in retaliation for
the killings of at least 30 police officers by the PCC.