Five Traffickers Die in Clash with Police in Rio de Janeiro
By Dialogo April 15, 2011
An operation by the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) in two slums in northern Rio de Janeiro on 13 April left five dead, believed to be drug traffickers, a Military Police spokesperson informed AFP.
The operation to suppress drug trafficking and weapons trafficking in the slums of Manguinhos and Mandela mobilized one hundred police officers, supported by two armored vehicles.
Three pistols, two grenades, twenty-three motorcycles, and chemical substances for manufacturing drugs were confiscated, the police specified, and four arrests were made.
Elsewhere, in western Rio, the Civil Police carried out an operation on 13 April to dismantle a police-style militia suspected of operating in thirteen slums.
A city councilor was arrested, and fourteen arrest warrants were issued by the judicial authorities.
The expansion of militias in Rio de Janeiro goes back to 2006, when groups of active or retired police officers invaded several favelas in the western part of the city, expelled drug traffickers, and started to collect “security fees” from inhabitants.
Militias are present in 105 of the city’s 250 major slums, according to a report by Paulo Storani, a former captain of the elite Special Operations Unit (BOPE) of the Military Police.
The authorities of Rio de Janeiro state, one of the country’s most violent, began a countercampaign in 2008 to pacify the city and eliminate militias and drug traffickers from the slums, ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
At present, around twenty slums have been pacified.