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By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rocinha is to be used as an initiation patrol ground for recent military police graduate officers. The move is said to be a temporary security solution put in place while the community is awaiting the installation of the UPP (Pacification Police Units).

Military Police recruits Patrol Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Military Police recruits patrol Rocinha, photo by Marcelo Horn/Impresa RJ.

The last two weeks have seen a worrying amount of violence taking place within the favela, in particular the widely publicized murder of community leader Vanderlan Barros de Oliveira also known as ‘Feijao’ on Monday afternoon.

As of Friday 30th, March, Rocinha has seen the number of Military Police officers increased from 350 to 700 men. According to Colonel Frederick Caldas, public relations officer and spokesman for the military police, “The police in Rocinha are being strengthened with overlapping patrols, especially at the top of the favela in the area of Cachopa. We will not lose this war.”

The escalating violence is believed to revolve around drug trafficking as well a long running battle between two conflicting gangs operating within Rocinha.

Anthropologist and coordinator of the center for research and violence UERJ, Alba Zaluar, notes that the continuing demand for drugs in the Zona Sul (South Zone) area keeps trafficking activities in Rocinha alive “Rocinha is the filet mignon of the drug [world] in Rio, located in the heart of the South Zone, it is easier to access than the Complexo do Alemão.”

The struggle to maintain peace and put an end to trafficking in Rocinha continues yet the military police are being supported by the civil police and the homicide division who have recently identified two men believed to have been involved in the killing of Vanderlan Barros de Oliveira.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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