Brazil: At least 18 dead in police operation in Rio favela

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Brazil: At least 18 dead in police operation in Rio favela

Nearly 400 law enforcement personnel participated in this operation.

At least 18 people, including a resident, died on Thursday during a massive police operation against organized crime in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Of these 18 people killed , 16 are suspected of being members of criminal gangs, another is a favela resident and another a 38-year-old law enforcement officer, a police spokesman said during the interview. of a press conference.

The Office of the Defender of Rights and the Brazilian Bar Association's Human Rights Commission separately told AFP that they had information of a total of 20 dead, including the policeman and the woman.

The death of her, a 50-year-old woman named Leticia Marinho de Sales, is under investigation. We don't know how it happened, Colonel Rogério Lobasso, the military police officer for the operation, said after expressing regret.

A man posing as the 50-year-old's boyfriend told the G1 news site that police fired on the car they were in.

There was a policeman at a red light, we stopped. But they still shot at the car. I just saw her fall on my side. When I looked at her, she had a hole in her chest, Denilson Gloria said.

President Jair Bolsonaro for his part regretted the death of the policeman without mentioning the other deceased. He died after a clash with bandits, said the far-right head of state during his traditional social media show, in which he also complained about the alleged legal difficulties encountered by the authorities to carry out operations in the favelas.

Nearly 400 members of the security forces took part in this operation, with several armored vehicles and four aircraft, in this sprawling favela to confront a gang specializing in the robbery of vehicles for transporting goods and funds.

Residents complained to local media about the police operation, during which homes were allegedly invaded.

Testimonies collected by G1 show intense exchanges of gunfire between the authorities and the criminals. Some videos posted by Internet users show a burst of fire against a police helicopter.

Authorities claimed that their units had been violently attacked, with military and guerrilla tactics, during the operation, and accused some suspected criminals of ;having used civilians as human shields.

The police must react to protect themselves and the population, remarked Fabricio Oliveira, coordinator of the special civil police unit (CORE), during the press conference. He called the operation iconic because it took place in an area traditionally off-limits to law enforcement and where he says criminals from other Brazilian states find refuge.

Ronaldo Oliveira, Undersecretary for Civil Police Operations, said he would have preferred the officers to have captured the 15 or 14 (alleged criminals shot dead), but unfortunately they chose to shoot the officers. .

The authorities had previously explained that the operation was intended to curb the expansionist policy of the Complexo do Alemao gangs in various points of the state of Rio de Janeiro .

Rio State Military Police claimed on Twitter that criminals from the Complexo do Alemao set fire to barricades, threw oil on public roads and attacked police officers to return the crime. ;more difficult operation in order to be able to flee.

This is the second police operation with a heavy human toll in a Carioca favela in recent months, after that which occurred in May in Vila Cruzeiro, which cost the life of 25 people, including 23 suspects.

Brazil's Supreme Court in February ordered the state of Rio to present a plan to avoid such heavy death tolls, and the strategy was presented in March, but human rights organizations, which often denounce alleged extrajudicial executions during such operations, considered it too vague.

In 2021, 1,356 people were killed by police forces in this state, the highest number of deaths and injuries in clashes in Brazil, according to the report. organization Monitor da Violência.

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