By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – More than 2,600 armed forces personnel participated in an operation during the early morning hours of Wednesday (August 16th) to arrest accused drug kingpins in favela communities in and around Niteroi, the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro.
By the middle of the morning ten suspects had already been arrested and according to officials one soldier was shot during the operation.
For the operation, dubbed Dose Dupla (Double Dose) the armed forces used two helicopters, 33 armored vehicles and another 120 vehicles.
During the night the famous Rio-Niteroi Bridge was closed for several minutes as armored cars and personnel made their way into the city. Streets on the other side of Guanabara Bay were cordoned off and airspace for small aircrafts restricted. Operations in two of the nation’s busiest airports, Santos Dumont and Tom Jobim International Airport were not disrupted.
This is the second large-scale operation since the Armed Forces arrived in Rio at the end of July and part of the federal government’s implementation of the National Security Plan in Rio de Janeiro. In all the security plan will employ 8,500 members of the Armed Forces, 620 members of the National Security Force and 1,120 of the Federal Highway Police, in an effort to improve security in the state.
A spokesman for the Military Command of the East (CML), however, said the work of the Armed Forces is restricted to staying outside the communities.
“The support that is being given in this operation [by soldiers], just as it was in the other one [Lins Complex], is that of surrounding the area, which allows police forces to do their work,” Itamar was quoted as saying by news website G1.