Elite units of the Brazilian Military Police (BOPE) reinforced security in the Alemão shantytown complex in Rio de Janeiro following a shootout between uniformed personnel and drug traffickers that killed a 30-year-old police officer, the Military Police (PM) announced.
Fabiana de Souza’s death on the night of July 23, in an attack by drug traffickers on the Police Pacification Unit (UPP) installed in the Nova Brasília shantytown, in Alemão, was the first death of a female police officer in one of these communities occupied by the forces of order following decades under drug traffickers’ control.
“Surveillance has been reinforced in some spots by teams from the unit, and also by police officers from the Shock Battalion. BOPE is conducting several operations in the city in search of individuals suspected of participating in the attack on the UPP headquarters,” a military police spokesperson told AFP.
Following a year and a half of occupation, the Brazilian Army withdrew from the Alemão Complex, in northern Rio, in early July. The Soldiers were replaced by agents from BOPE and the PM’s riot control troops, and subsequently by military police assigned to the UPPs set up in several of the 11 shantytowns that make up Alemão.
In a 40-minute shootout between police officers and around 12 criminals, two suspects were arrested in Nova Brasilia on July 24, the PM specified in a statement.
In a press release from London, the governor of the state of Rio, Sergio Cabral, regretted the death of the police officer, “murdered in a cowardly way,” and declared that “the pacification policy is not going to be rolled back, but rather will be expanded.”
Currently, 25 UPPs have jurisdiction over 144 Rio shantytowns occupied by 5,550 police officers, a strategy launched by the Rio Government in 2008 with a view toward improving security prior to hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Eleven percent of UPP members are women.