Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 10:52 UK

More die amid Rio slum violence

Police patrolling streetsof the Jacarezinho shantytown on 19 October
A major police operation is under way in several shantytowns

Violence has continued to grip several shantytowns in Rio de Janeiro where at least 32 people have been killed since Saturday, Brazilian officials say.

The fighting erupted at the weekend when a police helicopter was shot down by suspected drug traffickers.

Gun battles have since erupted between drug gangs and hundreds of heavily armed police deployed to find those behind the attack.

The violence comes just weeks after Rio was chosen to stage the 2016 Olympics.

Feuding between rival drug gangs across several shantytowns in the north of Rio that began on Saturday seems to have started a grim sequence of events that has yet to reach a conclusion, says the BBC's Brazil correspondent Gary Duffy.

Hundreds of officers are combing various shanty towns to find those responsible for bringing down a police helicopter and causing the deaths of three officers.

Several people were reported to have died in confrontations with the police on Wednesday.

However, the official version of events is often challenged by local people, our correspondent notes.

The authorities insist the latest violence should have no bearing on Rio's ability to stage the Olympic Games in 2016.

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