At least 25 killed in Rio de Janeiro shootout, say police

Officer among fatalities during raid targeting drug traffickers in Jacarezinho favela

Rio’s Civil Police officers are seen during a police operation agains drug traffickers at the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. Photograph: Mauro Pimentel/AFP

Rio’s Civil Police officers are seen during a police operation agains drug traffickers at the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. Photograph: Mauro Pimentel/AFP

 

At least 25 people, including a police officer, were killed in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday in a shootout during a raid targeting drug traffickers in the city’s Jacarezinho neighbourhood, police said.

Suspects tried to escape across rooftops as police entered the slum in armored vehicles and helicopters flew overhead, television images showed. The intense firefight kept residents in their homes.

Three policemen were hit and one died of a head wound in hospital, police said.

Bullets fired during the shootout struck a light rail coach and two passengers were hurt by shattered glass from the broken window, the fire brigade said.

It was the deadliest single police operation in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which has suffered for decades from drug violence in its poor neighbourhoods known as favelas.

“This is the largest number of deaths in a police operation in Rio, surpassing 19 at Complexo do Alemao slum in 2007, except we did not lose one of ours in that action,” police chief Ronaldo Oliveira told Reuters.

Police said that among the dead in Jacarezinho were leaders of the drug trafficking gang that dominated life in the slum. At least 10 suspects were arrested, they said.

Besides drug trafficking, the gang robbed trucks of their cargo and had hijacked commuter trains earlier this year to steal from passengers. – Reuters