By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Continued efforts in pacifying the Complexo da Maré favela in the Zona Norte (North Zone) took place in the early morning hours Saturday, March 5th from Midnight – 9AM with the transition of the military police to the army. Sections of Avenida Brasil and Linha Vermelha in the direction towards Centro will be closed until 9AM.
Now authorities report 2,750 soldiers of the Armed Forces and Military Police occupy most of the Complexo da Maré. The force is composed of 2,050 from the Parachute Brigade, 500 Naval Marines and 200 from the Military Police.
Troops from the Parachute Brigade met at the military police headquarters in the favela after midnight along with the 4th Armored Infantry Battalion. For the transportation of military tanks, parts of Avenida Brasil and Linha Vermelha in the direction towards Centro was blocked off from around 3AM.
Since occupation forces moved in last Sunday, March 30th, military police have been scouring the favela for drugs and weapons leading up to the army take over from 5AM Saturday and on.
Since the beginning of the operations which took place on March 21st, there have been 162 arrests made, thirteen of them were the result of arrest warrants. According to figures released by the military police Friday, 51 minors were also seized by security forces since it began.
In all, sixteen suspects were killed in clashes between police over the past fifteen days. Eight other criminals were reported wounded. Among the drug busts made, security forces located more than 1.5 tons of marijuana, thirty pounds of cocaine and five kilograms of crack. The weapons seized so far includes ten rifles, sixty-three pistols, nineteen revolvers and twenty-four grenades.
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