While Brazil was celebrating this September 7 its 1822 independence from Portugal – a national holiday – Brazilian Armed Forces were engaged in trying to regain control from the drug dealers of one of Brazil’s largest favelas.
The Alemão Complex in Rio de Janeiro, a shantytown pacified only a few weeks ago as part of the efforts to secure the city for the 2016 Olympic Games, apparently has again been lost to criminal gangs.
Dozens of drug traffickers opened fire Tuesday on soldiers who were patrolling the favela in an attempt to regain control of the slum, officials stated.
Hundreds of soldiers were sent into the community of around 100,000 people to prevent a gang from a neighboring shantytown to take over the community police units set up in several points across the favela.
The community reports a 15-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet and at least 16 people were reported wounded during the heavy shooting which broke out Tuesday evening.
Local media also reported that over 50 drug heavily armed traffickers from a close by favela raided police units and shot at street lamps, leaving many streets in the dark. This Thursday, police disarmed five homemade bombs placed on the community entrances. No new clashes were reported.
The Alemão Complex, one of Brazil’s largest slums, is the second of many shantytown that were retaken by Rio police following weeks of widespread violence caused by gangs who had gone on the rampage, setting fire to around 100 cars and buses in the city.
Occupying the Alemão shantytown was the biggest challenge yet for security forces that have been engaged in pushing drug gangs out of slums and installing permanent community police to pacify the crime-ridden favelas.
Brazilian authorities are struggling to pacify Rio before it hosts the finals of the 2014 World Cup and the Olympic Games of 2016.