At least 12 people were killed and 15 others shot and wounded in recent hours in the southeastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, while the recent uptick of violence in the southern state of Santa Catarina continued with the torching of eight buses.

Seven of the homicides occurred in Greater Sao Paulo, according to police reports cited Thursday by local media.

The other five killings occurred in Araraquara, a city 270 kilometers (170 miles) from Sao Paulo, in two separate attacks Wednesday night targeting a group of people walking on the street and customers at a bar.

In metropolitan Sao Paulo, at least three police also were shot and wounded, two in attacks on off-duty officers in their respective vehicles and the third in a robbery at a bar.

More than 250 murders have been committed since the start of October in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and financial capital, according to local media tallies based on police records.

Earlier this month, the Sao Paulo state government and Brazilian federal officials launched a joint plan to confront the recent upsurge in violence.

Federal officials suggest the recent spate of attacks on law enforcement in metropolitan Sao Paulo has been orchestrated by jailed bosses of the First Capital Command, the region's most powerful criminal outfit.

Elsewhere, a fourth straight night of violence in Santa Catarina state saw the torching of a public school and eight buses.

Two people - the driver and a fare-taker - suffered burns on their legs in one of the attacks, most of which occurred in metropolitan Florianopolis, the state capital.

Authorities attribute the majority of the attacks in that state to armed gangs that operate both inside and outside of prisons. EFE