By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tension continues high in and around Rio de Janeiro’s Cidade de Deus neighborhood Friday (February 2nd) morning, after yet another violent night of shootouts. Armored military police vehicles patrol the area after a 19-year-old woman was shot Thursday night after getting caught in the middle of a shootout between drug gangs.
Thursday night’s local TV news coverages of the violence showed drivers abandoning their automobiles and running for cover in one of Rio’s main highways, Linha Amarela.
“There were more than thirty shots,” Anderson Santos told G1 news outlet. According to the computer system analyst the area looked like a war zone.
“There was a moment when I saw the police officers between my car and the wall, exchanging shots with the criminals,” explained Santos who said this was his only way into work every morning. “I’ve even looked at the prices of bullet proof cars.”
Since Wednesday the neighborhood, made famous by Fernando Meirelles’ movie City of God, has registered intense shooting sprees between police and drug traffickers and Linha Amarela, was closed for traffic at least three times this week due to the confrontations.
According to police, Thursday’s conflicts resulted in the death of at least three criminals, including one of the leaders of the drug trafficking gang which operated in the area, Rodolfo Pereira da Silva.
Data from Rio’s Public Security Institute (ISP) shows that since 2015 there has been a violent death in the area every four days. In 2017 96 deaths were reported and during the first month of 2018 alone eleven violent deaths were registered.