RIO DE JANEIRO – More than 4,000 Brazilian soldiers remained deployed Tuesday across a cluster of Rio de Janeiro “favelas,” or shantytowns, as part of an operation that has already led to seven deaths.
Two soldiers were among the dead, becoming the first army fatalities since President Michel Temer’s February decree giving the military responsibility for public safety in Rio de Janeiro state.
During Monday’s operations, five suspects died, a soldier was wounded, 60 people were arrested and half a ton of marijuana, as well as guns and ammunition, were seized.
On Tuesday, troops supported by helicopters and armored vehicles continued executing arrest warrants, destroying barricades and setting up checkpoints in search of suspects.
Operations continue in the favelas in the northern section of Rio de Janeiro, where more than 500,000 people live in 26 communities.
In the Complexo do Alemao, according to residents, schools were closed Tuesday as a security measure.
In addition to the military operations carried out this week, two others have been staged by the security forces since last Friday in the same section of Rio.
The army and police have expanded their operations in Rio in recent weeks, but the raids usually result in just a few arrests and the seizure of limited quantities of illegal weapons and drugs.
Shootings in Rio de Janeiro have increased by 40 percent since the start of the military intervention, while deaths in incidents involving the security forces are at a 30-year high, according to a study released last Thursday by researchers at Candido Mendes University.
As many as 736 people have died in the army’s anti-crime operations, in addition to 2,617 reported homicides.