After a day that saw 25 people dead, most of them gang members according to the Brazilian police, the situation seems to be under control, this morning, April 18, in the Mineira Hill, a favela close to downtown Rio de Janeiro. The area has been taken over by men of the Military Police's Special Operations Battalion (BOPE), who promise to stay there indefinitely.
"No dead is innocent," the BOPE commander, lieutenant-colonel Coelho Neto, said yesterday, while talking about the 13 people who were killed at the Mineira hill, in Catumbi, close to downtown Rio. The police say traffickers of two rival gangs exchanged shots there while fighting to get the best drug sale spots in the Mineira favela.
Police say they moved into the area and ended up shutting down main roads to end the traffickers' war. It is still not known how many deaths were caused by police fire. There were, however, several bystanders who were injured by stray bullets.
Six men charged with trafficking also died during an early morning shootout on Tuesday, April 17, at another favela in the Bangu neighborhood, in Rio's west side.
After Tuesday night's shootings the number of dead had gone up to 25 people. Three shootouts between gang members and the military police left 4 dead and three wounded in Rio and the neighboring communities of Baixada, Belford Roxo and Nova Iguaçu. Another shootout at Chapadão hill, in the city's north zone, left a man dead and three injured.
Jorge Barbosa, 48, a police investigator, who worked for the DRCPIM (Bureau to Repress Crimes Against Immaterial Property) was killed with several shots a few minutes after leaving the police bureau. He apparently was shot while reacting to a robbery in the Benfica neighborhood.
According to witnesses, four men surrounded the policeman. After shooting Barbosa, they fled on his red GM Astra. The police agent died while being taken to a hospital.
A man suspect of being a drug trafficker was also killed in the Baixada Fluminense after another shootout with the military police. The police say that they were shot at when they arrived to investigate informations that a gang was selling drugs in the area.Â
While one suspect was shot and died on his way to the hospital, his colleagues escaped leaving behind four communication radios, three revolvers, 175 cocaine baggies and 66 small bundles of marijuana.
Another man suspect of being a trafficker was killed by police in Nova Iguaçu, also in the Baixada Fluminense.
Still another victim was a retired man who had just left a bank. He was killed Tuesday afternoon while resisting an assault. A civilian policeman who saw the robbery shot at the assailants killing one of the them.