SAO PAULO — Current and former police officers may have committed up to 30 murders during the recently ended police strike in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, law enforcement officials there said.Up to 30 people were killed execution-style out of the 180 murdered during violence that hit the state during the 12-day strike, said Arthur Gallas, head of the police department’s homicide department, during a late Monday briefing for reporters.The victims’ bodies were found with their hands cuffed or tied behind their backs, he said. All of them had been shot in the head at close range with heavy caliber weapons such as the rifles Brazil’s police carry.”Preliminary investigations and eyewitness reports lead us to believe that these killings were the work of militias,” Gallas said.Prevalent in many Brazilian cities, such militias are paramilitary criminal organizations made up of former or active-duty officers that dominate poor areas, extort residents and often double as extermination squads, according to legislative and judicial investigations.
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