RIO DE JANEIRO Ė Three alleged criminals were killed on Saturday and a 13-year-old boy was injured by a bullet fired during a gunfight between police officers and suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro, a city immersed in a serious wave of violence.
According to the Civilian Police, the gunned down, plus four others who were arrested, were trying to flee Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio, which has been occupied by a thousand soldiers since Friday after it was ravaged by numerous shootings among crime gangs.
The first of the shootings, where some alleged criminals were killed, took place in the Alto neighborhood of Boa Vista, when a group of armed individuals tried to flee the Rocinha favela in a vehicle and attempted to bypass a military police checkpoint.
The result of that confrontation was two dead offenders and a 13-year-old teenager wounded by a stray bullet into the chest, although his life is not in danger.
A second shooting occurred in the Tijuca neighborhood under similar circumstances. A group of traffickers traveling in a car stolen from the Rocinha was hit by a military police vehicle, officials said.
Then, there was an exchange of gunfire and as a result one suspect was killed and two others were arrested, the police announced.
Police officers in Rio de Janeiro are currently carrying out operations in several parts in the southern and northern areas of the city and further clashes and the number of detainees could increase in the next few hours.
Rocinha, Brazilís largest favela and home to some 70,000 people, has been occupied since Friday afternoon by close to 1,000 members of the army following several shootings between criminal factions fighting against each other to control drug trafficking in that community, located in the southern part of Rio.
Rio de Janeiro has experienced an unprecedented wave of violence since the 2016 Olympic Games, which has forced President Michel Temerís government to send some 10,000 members of the Armed Forces to strengthen security in the region, with the prospect that they will remain there until the end of 2018.
So far this year, according to civil society associations, some 4,000 deaths have been recorded in violence throughout the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Among the fatalities are more than 100 police officers and about 630 people who lost their lives because of so-called stray bullets.