Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 11:57 UK

Troops held over Rio gang deaths


Eleven Brazilian soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of handing over three men to a drug gang that killed them and left them on a rubbish tip.

Hundreds of people who live in the same Rio de Janeiro shantytown as the victims protested over the weekend and on Monday against the killings.

Many of Rio's shantytowns are controlled by powerful drugs gangs.

The army had been deployed in the area to protect workers involved in a social project, local media said.

Soldiers detained the three men, who lived in the Providencia slum, accusing them of disrespecting authority, according to a police inspector.

They were then seen taking the men, aged 17, 19 and 24, to another shantytown controlled by a rival drug gang.

Their bullet-ridden bodies were found on a rubbish tip.

Their deaths brought hundreds of residents of Providencia onto the streets, some throwing stones at soldiers patrolling the area and shouting "murderers".

Troops have been deployed to try to help tackle violence in Rio's shantytowns but there have been warnings that soldiers are not trained to do police work.

"The episode clearly demonstrates that the armed forces should not be involved in... public security in the city," the Brazilian Bar Association said in a statement.

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