Brazilian Army Will Act as Peace-Keeping Force in Rio, Commander Says
By Dialogo December 06, 2010
The Brazilian Army will act as a peace-keeping force in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, as it has done in Haiti but never before in its own country, Gen. Enzo Peri, the commander of the force, announced on 2 December.
“We’ve done police actions before, but of this kind and on this scale, it’s the first time” in Brazil, the commander said during a visit to the Alemão Complex, the group of slums in Rio de Janeiro taken over last weekend by the army and the police in a war against drug trafficking.
“We’re prepared. The personnel are well trained and equipped,” Peri affirmed, according to the official news agency Agencia Brasil.
The commander confirmed that the army will occupy the slums of the Alemão and Penha complexes and will patrol inside them in order to guarantee peace in the area.
Eight thousand military personnel are prepared to take part in urban security efforts and can help to reinforce operations in other Rio de Janeiro slums, the commander of the Eastern Military Command, Gen. Adriano Pereira Junior, said for his part.
Brazil has been in command of the UN military peace-keeping force in Haiti since 2004, acquiring extensive experience in urban patrols in the neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, also often seized by violence.
The Rio de Janeiro authorities have requested that the army remain in the Alemão Complex, together with the police, until a Pacification Unit can be installed in the area.
This complex of slums was completely dominated by gangs of heavily armed drug traffickers, and in an unprecedented action, the police and the army occupied it last weekend.