By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – More than 3,500 men from the Brazilian Armed Forces participated in a mega-operation in the favela communities of São Gonçalo, municipality just outside Niteroi, in Rio de Janeiro’s metropolitan region on Tuesday morning.
The forces positioned themselves in strategic points around communities, while federal police search for criminals, drugs and weapons within the favelas. Some streets in São Gonçalo were closed down, making the already chaotic morning rush-hour even worse in the area.
According to officials the operation includes twenty-four armored vehicles and sixteen small navy vessels operating in Guanabara Bay waters.
“The difference between this operation and the previous ones is that in this one we also have Brazilian Navy vessels participating,” Colonel Roberto Itamar, spokesperson for the East Military Command Center (CLM) was quoted by local media outlet, G1.
According to the Rio’s Public Security Department (Seseg), three men were arrested until the middle of the morning and two federal highway patrol officers were shot at during the start of the operations.
Tuesday’s operation is part of the National Public Security Plan for Rio de Janeiro, announced at the end of July. Since then federal troops have conducted operations in the favela complexes of Lins and Jacarezinho, in the Rocinha community, in Morro dos Macacos and in the São Carlos favela complex. According to officials plan military operations in Rio will continue until the end of 2018.