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  • Military police officers in the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro

    Military police officers in the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro | Photo: EFE

950 troops were called into the favela by Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao.

A mass shooting in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas, Rocinha, has prompted nearly 1000 of the country’s armed forces to intervene.

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The shootout between the favela’s police and local drug dealers caused chaos in Rochina, closing down one of the largest access roads in the city, Lagoa-Barra.

A group of people assembled a barricade during the violence, setting it on fire. A grenade was also left near the barrier, but failed to explode.

Four people have been killed and several others injured in the violence between rival drug gangs that has been ongoing since Sunday, prompting schools and health centers to remain closed all week. The favela's residents have also been forced to take shelter in their homes.

The city's Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao called in the armed reinforcements as the situation deteriorated. Helicopters and forces from the Brazilian Special Operations Battalion are also being sent. 

The favela's residents hiding in fear.

“We are not going to retreat, we are in the fifth day of operations, yesterday we discovered a lot of weapons and drugs," Governor Pezao said.

The armed conflict has intensified in recent months due to increased police presence in the favela.

"The first helicopter has now landed in the Rocinha favela, in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro."

 

"I was going to work and suddenly the police closed off the tunnel in Rocinha and started to patrol with guns. There was a panic at the mouth of the tunnel and I saw people running and heard gunfire," one witness told Reuters, requesting anonymity. "I'm still shaking now."


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