Brazilian police on Sunday killed an alleged criminal in the city of Joinville, in Santa Catarina state, a tourist region in southern Brazil that has been experiencing a wave of violent attacks in recent days, official sources reported.

The dead man, identified as Jean de Oliveira, evidently tried to shoot an off-duty policeman from a motorcycle at about 3:15 a.m. (0515 GMT) but was pursued by on-duty officers who ultimately killed him in an exchange of gunfire, according to a communique released by the regional government.

Police arrested Jaison Cordeiro, who was accompanying De Oliveira on the motorcycle.

On Sunday morning, authorities also reported the burning of three buses and two trucks, while unknown gunmen fired shots at two police stations, the home of a police officer and the government offices of three municipalities, namely Chapeco, Araquari and Itajai.

In Itajai, two men threw a Molotov cocktail against the wall of a building housing municipal offices and fled after the attack on a bicycle, a watchman told authorities.

Since last Wednesday night, there have been at least 43 attacks of this kind in the region and authorities have arrested 20 people for their alleged participation in the wave of violence.

To prevent attacks in the metropolitan region of Florianopolis, the regional capital, police on Saturday night provided escorts for a large number of buses between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (2200 and 0000 GMT) and afterwards ordered the suspension of public transportation services until Sunday morning.

Authorities say the attacks appear to be a response to police operations against drug trafficking bands and to more stringent treatment of inmates in the state's prisons.

Last November, a similar wave of violence occurred in the same region, lasting about a week and following a series of fires, shootings and murders that had occurred in Sao Paulo. EFE