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Americas

Police launch anti-crime sweep in Rio's favelas

©

Latest update : 2012-10-14

Police in Rio de Janeiro reported little resistance as they launched an operation Sunday to wrest control of the Jacarezinho and Manguinhos favelas from violent gangs. The favelas are known as major drug dealing centres.

Police in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday took control of the crime-infested favelas of Jacarezinho and Manguinhos in a bid to claim back portions of the city controlled by violent gangs, AFP reporters witnessed.

The operation began shortly before 5:00 am (0800 GMT) and involved about 800 police in riot gear and 13 armored personnel carriers.

Heavily armed officers began patrolling the streets as soon as they moved in.

"The situation is calm," police spokesman Colonel Federico Caldas told Globo News television. "There have been no incidents, but we are prepared for any possible development."

The favelas are known as major drug trading and consumption centers.

Authorities plan to install a so-called Police Pacification Unit (UPP) in Manguinhos, which will be staffed with agents specially trained to address the community's violence and drug problem.

Jacarezinho will be patrolled by strengthened but regular police units.

Authorities in Brazil are trying to take control of and clean up some of the most dangerous areas of the country in preparation for the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games of 2016.

With the addition of Manguinhos, authorities have deployed 29 of the UPPs in more than 170 local communities, which are now patrolled by more than 6,770 special agents, according to military police statistics.

Brazil plans to deploy 40 UPPs by 2014.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-10-14

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