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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Brazil police mount Rio crackdown
National Force officers conduct searches in a Rio shanty town
Wednesday saw the biggest police presence so far
Brazilian police are continuing operations in a group of Rio shanty towns where they have been confronting drugs dealers for more than a month.

Around 420 officers moved back into an area known as the German Complex a day after staging a big show of strength.

The police action is part of an increasingly assertive security policy in Rio de Janeiro, which has been criticised by some human rights groups.

In Wednesday's action, one person was injured as gun battles broke out.

Brazilian media reported that 300 military police officers and 120 from the national federal police force resumed operations early on Thursday to try to stop drugs and weapons getting into the area.

The confrontation in the German Complex - a group of favelas or shanty towns not far from the international airport in Rio - began more than a month ago after two policemen were killed.

Since then police have maintained a heavy presence in the area and, according to local reports, 64 people have been wounded and at least 17 have died in the past few weeks.

Gun battles

Residents have paid a heavy price in this continuing confrontation, living in constant fear, with schools and shops often closed, the BBC's correspondent in Brazil, Gary Duffy, says.

Two boys walk past police officers in the Complexo de Alemao shanty town
The confrontation has overshadowed daily life in the area

In the latest shift in strategy, police on Wednesday sealed off access routes into the favelas, searching men, women and children.

The police operation focused on a favela known as Vila Cruzeiro, and involved 250 national force officers and 200 other police officers from across the city.

Throughout Wednesday there were several gun battles and police used heavily reinforced vehicles to maintain their presence.

Rio's governor, Sergio Cabral, who took office earlier this year, has made clear his determination to reclaim parts of the city where drug gangs have taken control.

But human rights groups have criticised the tactics and say killings by police are not properly investigated.


SEE ALSO
Gun battles in Rio leave 19 dead
18 Apr 07 |  Americas
Nine killed in Rio slum shoot-out
12 Feb 07 |  Americas
Rio hit by deadly gang violence
28 Dec 06 |  Americas
Amnesty condemns Brazilian police
02 Dec 05 |  Americas
Rio slums blighted by gun crime
21 Oct 05 |  Americas
Country profile: Brazil
18 Feb 06 |  Country profiles

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