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Get-tough Brazilian governor decries 'genocide' in Rio state

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The governor of Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state said Sunday that he wants fresh measures to prevent arms from flooding into the state from other countries and to stop what he calls a "genocide."

Gov. Wilson Witzel, who has made headlines for sending police snipers on board helicopters to shoot armed crime suspects in the state's slums, said he wants to work with the United Nations to identify the "causes of the genocide in Rio." Witzel criticized Paraguay, Bolivia and Colombia in particular.

Rio state has recorded 2,717 homicides so far this year, a 21.5% drop from the same period in 2018.

But critics complain that killings by police are up. Police officers killed 1,249 people in the first eight months of 2019 in the state, up 16% from the same period last year, official numbers show.