Brazilian Army Searches for Killers of Brave Young Corporal

Brazilian Army Searches for Killers of Brave Young Corporal

By Dialogo
December 09, 2014





“A mother who loses her child, a beautiful boy of 21, suffers such a great pain there is no way to describe it,” said Michele Ferreria Moreira Mikami. “You can’t compare it to anything else. I have simply been destroyed.”

Mikami, 37, is the mother of Army Cpl. Michel Augusto Mikami, who was fatally shot in the head as he patrolled Complexo da Maré on November 28. The attack claimed the life of an experienced young Army Corporal, leaving his family to cope with his loss.

In May, Mikami returned from Haiti, where he had served a six-month tour of duty with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). When he returned, Mikami volunteered for the operation in Maré. Corporal Mikami loved his job and intended to follow a military career in Brazil, but now the cause he devoted his life to will move forward without him.

Mikami’s family deals with grief


Mikami joined the Army on March 1, 2012. He believed in the Pacification Force’s mission of providing security to the people who live in Rio’s dangerous favelas, as he had when he served with MINUSTAH in Haiti.

“He said that, in Haiti, even thieves and drug traffickers respected the Brazilian Army, because they knew that the soldiers were there to help,” Michelle Mikami said. “There are always risks, but no place carries more risks than a favela in Rio de Janeiro.”

Her son bravely faced the dangers of patrolling favelas where drug traffickers and gangs operate, she said.

“People asked whether he wasn’t afraid to die. And he would reply that death is a part of life,” Michele Mikami said.

“He was different. In some people, you see something bad in their eyes. In him, we only saw goodness. He was the angel in our family. He joined the Army to save lives, and it ended up costing him his own,” said the corporal’s aunt, Mirian Mikami.

The corporal’s sacrifice was recognized by President Dilma Rousseff. “I would like to express my condolences and solidarity with Michel’s family and friends,” he said.

Drug traffickers suspected of the attack


A violent attack by drug traffickers lashing out Pacification Force’s members who patrolled Complexo da Maré caused the tragedy, Army investigators suspect. But the killing of Mikami will not deter them from their patrols or their efforts to root out and confront narco-traffickers.

“This cowardly killing of a member of our military will not deter the pacification efforts. The fact of his death is painful,” said Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rodrigues Canhaci, commander of the Pacification Force. He assumed command on October 15, and since then has led 2,700 troops who hail from the Navy and the Army.“We lost a good person, who left his home in another State to fight for peace for people here. But we are professionals; we are prepared for crises and conflict, and we are going to manage this pain, progress, and work even harder.”

The Army’s investigation indicates the killer or killers are with the Thiago da Silva Folly drug trafficking gang, which is known as TH.

“The Pacification Force is undertaking specific actions to apprehend all those involved in the murder of Corporal Mikami,” the Maré Pacification Force reported.

Mikami was part of a pacification mission


Known as “Operation São Francisco,” the Maré pacification mission in which Mikami was participating should have ended on July 31. As drug traffickers remain hiding and operating from the area, the mission was extended several times. The operation is currently scheduled to end on December 31, but Rio government officials have said it may be extended again.

Since April 5, when the Pacification Force began operations at Complexo da Maré, they’ve have arrested more than 500 suspects, including five alleged gang leaders, and made 229 drug seizures. They’ve also recovered 62 stolen motorcycles and 49 stolen vehicles.

Consequently, the military troops often face hostile actions by criminals. Since October 15, there have been 115 confrontations between Pacification Force personnel and criminal suspects.

The risks to the Pacification Forces are increased by the geography of Complexo da Maré, which encompasses 15 communities that are home to 140,000 persons. There are clusters of houses stacked one on top of the other. Some have more than one floor, and are therefore ideal for snipers. Many streets, alleys and back paths form a maze which criminal suspects often use to escape security forces.

Armed Forces personnel are not the only targets of attacks from drug traffickers and other criminals. From January to November 2014, 106 military police agents were killed in Rio de Janeiro.

“[These drug traffickers] are groups that oppress the people,” Canhaci said. “Because they are now being held at bay, due to all this financial pressure on them, they have started to take cowardly, systematic actions against the troops.”






“A mother who loses her child, a beautiful boy of 21, suffers such a great pain there is no way to describe it,” said Michele Ferreria Moreira Mikami. “You can’t compare it to anything else. I have simply been destroyed.”

Mikami, 37, is the mother of Army Cpl. Michel Augusto Mikami, who was fatally shot in the head as he patrolled Complexo da Maré on November 28. The attack claimed the life of an experienced young Army Corporal, leaving his family to cope with his loss.

In May, Mikami returned from Haiti, where he had served a six-month tour of duty with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). When he returned, Mikami volunteered for the operation in Maré. Corporal Mikami loved his job and intended to follow a military career in Brazil, but now the cause he devoted his life to will move forward without him.

Mikami’s family deals with grief


Mikami joined the Army on March 1, 2012. He believed in the Pacification Force’s mission of providing security to the people who live in Rio’s dangerous favelas, as he had when he served with MINUSTAH in Haiti.

“He said that, in Haiti, even thieves and drug traffickers respected the Brazilian Army, because they knew that the soldiers were there to help,” Michelle Mikami said. “There are always risks, but no place carries more risks than a favela in Rio de Janeiro.”

Her son bravely faced the dangers of patrolling favelas where drug traffickers and gangs operate, she said.

“People asked whether he wasn’t afraid to die. And he would reply that death is a part of life,” Michele Mikami said.

“He was different. In some people, you see something bad in their eyes. In him, we only saw goodness. He was the angel in our family. He joined the Army to save lives, and it ended up costing him his own,” said the corporal’s aunt, Mirian Mikami.

The corporal’s sacrifice was recognized by President Dilma Rousseff. “I would like to express my condolences and solidarity with Michel’s family and friends,” he said.

Drug traffickers suspected of the attack


A violent attack by drug traffickers lashing out Pacification Force’s members who patrolled Complexo da Maré caused the tragedy, Army investigators suspect. But the killing of Mikami will not deter them from their patrols or their efforts to root out and confront narco-traffickers.

“This cowardly killing of a member of our military will not deter the pacification efforts. The fact of his death is painful,” said Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rodrigues Canhaci, commander of the Pacification Force. He assumed command on October 15, and since then has led 2,700 troops who hail from the Navy and the Army.“We lost a good person, who left his home in another State to fight for peace for people here. But we are professionals; we are prepared for crises and conflict, and we are going to manage this pain, progress, and work even harder.”

The Army’s investigation indicates the killer or killers are with the Thiago da Silva Folly drug trafficking gang, which is known as TH.

“The Pacification Force is undertaking specific actions to apprehend all those involved in the murder of Corporal Mikami,” the Maré Pacification Force reported.

Mikami was part of a pacification mission


Known as “Operation São Francisco,” the Maré pacification mission in which Mikami was participating should have ended on July 31. As drug traffickers remain hiding and operating from the area, the mission was extended several times. The operation is currently scheduled to end on December 31, but Rio government officials have said it may be extended again.

Since April 5, when the Pacification Force began operations at Complexo da Maré, they’ve have arrested more than 500 suspects, including five alleged gang leaders, and made 229 drug seizures. They’ve also recovered 62 stolen motorcycles and 49 stolen vehicles.

Consequently, the military troops often face hostile actions by criminals. Since October 15, there have been 115 confrontations between Pacification Force personnel and criminal suspects.

The risks to the Pacification Forces are increased by the geography of Complexo da Maré, which encompasses 15 communities that are home to 140,000 persons. There are clusters of houses stacked one on top of the other. Some have more than one floor, and are therefore ideal for snipers. Many streets, alleys and back paths form a maze which criminal suspects often use to escape security forces.

Armed Forces personnel are not the only targets of attacks from drug traffickers and other criminals. From January to November 2014, 106 military police agents were killed in Rio de Janeiro.

“[These drug traffickers] are groups that oppress the people,” Canhaci said. “Because they are now being held at bay, due to all this financial pressure on them, they have started to take cowardly, systematic actions against the troops.”


In my opnion, police pacification units (UPPs) have not accomplished their iniital objective. They only serve to play a role for the authroities. It's way past time to find another solution. Traffickers have to respect the law. No more criminals terrifying good people, and may the government promote the right of citizens. They have had a negative impact on Brazilians in every area.
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