Brazil Police Occupy Rio de Janeiro Shantytown After 12 Murders

By Dialogo
September 13, 2012

About 250 police occupied a shantytown on September 11, in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro, where at least 12 people were killed in three days.

The bodies of six youth, ages16 to 19 years old, were found the day before in the Chatuba shantytown, riddled with bullets and knife cut marks.

“They came from the neighboring shantytown, dominated by a rival faction and should not enter here, but they went to swim in the waterfall and were captured by members of the Comando Vermelho (a major drug trafficking gang in Rio), who tortured and executed them,” said Priscilla, a resident of Chatuba.

Without giving her last name for fear of reprisals, the widow of 26 years, mother of three children, complained of “abandonment” of the community since Rio authorities began to race against the clock in 2008, in order to “pacify” the shantytowns south of the city to prepare for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

After the expulsion of drug traffickers, several Pacification Police Units, with about 5,500 members were installed to monitor more than 140 Rio shantytowns (out of 750), but mostly in communities near tourist sites and affluent neighborhoods.

“Given the significant number of barbaric crimes committed during the weekend by drug traffickers who dominate Chatuba (…) urgent action is needed to restore tranquility to the area,” indicated the Ministry of Public Security in a statement.

The police occupation of the Chatuba shantytown will be “permanent”, with the installation of a battalion of 112 officers, the statement specified.

The police were searching for the body of a 19 year old, on September 11.

Two helicopters were hovering over the Chatuba hills, to which the traffickers fled while police cars and motorcycles were traveling through the streets of the shantytowns.

“I have lived here since 1986 and it wasn´t like this before. This worsened when the traffickers arrived in Rio,” said José Aldeci da Silva Junior, 44 years old, the father of the missing young man.