Brazil Police Occupy Drug-Infested Rio Slum

By Dialogo
August 07, 2013

Some 180 elite Brazilian police officers deployed into a drug-infested slum complex in northern Rio on August 5 in order to prepare the way for a permanent presence there.

“We are here to stay,” Rio state governor Sergio Cabral told the daily O Dia.

The Mangueirinha complex, located in the Baixada Fluminense district, is home to 25,000 people and comprises the Corte 8, Sapo, Santuário and Mangueirinha favelas.

Police said a 180-strong detachment, mainly from the elite Shock battalion, would be deployed for 30 days to prepare for a permanent presence.

But, for now, authorities say they do not plan to deploy a Police Pacification Unit in Mangueirinhas, as has happened since 2008 in other favelas once under the sway of drug gangs.

Pacification deployments are part of an official campaign to restore security ahead of next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio summer Olympics.

The Mangueirinha shantytowns were controlled by Red Command, Brazil’s oldest drug trafficking organization, which fled dozens of other slums secured by police, mainly in the south of the city that is popular with tourists.

Police first arrived in Baixada Fluminense last September, setting up a detachment in the Chatuba slum following the kidnapping and murder of nine local youths by drug gangs.

Rio authorities have deployed 33 Pacification Units after restoring security in various Rio districts and plan to activate one soon in the Maré complex, home to 120,000 and located near the international airport.