Marielle Franco, the Brazilian councilwoman assassinated in Rio de Janeiro in March was killed by a militia looking to protect its interests controlling land in unregulated slums, a Brazilian official has said.
General Richard Nunes, head of the state security authority, told the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper that the councilwoman was active "in a certain area of Rio controlled by militia, where they have economic interests of all sorts."
The militias are composed of members and ex-members of Rio's security forces, effectively becoming well-armed gangs displacing street gangs they were trained to fight.
Nunes said: "What led to the councilwoman's murder and her driver's, was the perception that she was putting those interests of these criminal groups at risk."
Franco's work to make people aware "about land ownership caused instability and that's what we ended up seeing," he said.
The comments came a day after a confidential Rio police report was leaked saying that a plot had been uncovered to assassinate a state lawmaker, Marcelo Freixo, who was Franco's political mentor and also a critic of the para-police militias.