RIO DE JANEIRO – Two soldiers and five civilians were killed on Monday during a military raid in Rio de Janeiro’s congested neighborhoods carried out by 4,200 Brazilian soldiers with the support of the police.
The operation is part of the federal military intervention authorized in February by President Michel Temer’s decree, which gave authority to the Army to deal with security and the serious wave of violence that plagues Rio de Janeiro State.
According to the Joint Command of the military intervention, at least seven were killed in the operation early Monday morning in three “favela” neighborhoods in the north of Rio (Alemao, Penha and La Mare), home to more than 500,000 people.
Among the casualties are two soldiers: Joao Vitor da Silva and Fabiano Oliveira dos Santos.
Rio de Janeiro’s security secretary Richard Nunes regretted the death of the military officers and said in a message on Twitter that it is “an attack against democracy” of the state.
In his opinion, the death of the officers “shows how security forces face criminals (who have) weapons of war in alleys and streets which are “inhospitable terrain on the margins of law, order and citizenship.”
In the operation which involved 4,200 soldiers and 70 policemen with the support of armored vehicles and helicopters, orders of imprisonment and arrest were made, illegal barricades were destroyed and checkpoints were set up to search suspects or vehicles with criminal records.
This is the third operation in less than three days carried out by the military in the area.
On Friday and Sunday, the military launched an anti-narcotics operation in the favela of Alemao.
The operations by the military and police in Rio have intensified in recent weeks, but in many cases they eventually culminated with only a few arrests or seizures of illegal weapons and drugs.
Despite the military intervention in public security, violence in Rio is still endemic and claimed 6,731 lives in 2017.