By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The atmosphere of violence continues for Rocinha’s residents, as shootings erupted in Rio’s largest favela again on Monday, October 2nd. Clashes between drug dealers and the police have been frequent since last Friday, September 29th, when the Army left Rocinha after a week of occupation.
Locals claim that the first shots were heard at 12:20 AM in the area known as Portão Vermelho (Red Gate).
Later, a firefight between the “Shock Battalion” police officers in Rocinha’s patrol operation and an unidentified man happened at around 9AM, in a location called 199, in the community’s lower area.
Police sources allege that the second shooting happened while they were doing a street patrol in Rocinha’s alleyways. A “Shock Battalion” agent said a resident informed them that a man with a rifle was hiding in an alley and was “ready to shoot”.
No suspects were arrested and no drugs or weapons were seized. In another part of Rocinha, however, the Police Batallion of Special Operations (BOPE) seized a grenade and rifle bullets.
Since the Army left Rocinha, on Friday, September 29th, five hundred Military Police officers have been patrolling the community with the aim of arresting criminals who have been fighting for control of the drug traffic in the area.
The conflict has been ongoing since September 17th and is the most violent since the pacification operation in 2011.
In order to reinforce security, the Military Police brought officers from Rocinha’s UPP and Leblon’s Military Police Battalion.
Officers from other UPPs and special forces, such as BOPE, the “Shock Battalion”, the Police dog unit and aerial squad, are also working in this operation. Over five hundred officers are monitoring 29 locations in Rocinha.
Schools and health units have been working normally, but residents of the area known as “Roupa Suja” have had no electricity for sixteen days now.
From September 18th until last Sunday, October 1st, eighteen people have been arrested and seven suspected criminals have been killed.
Also, according to the latest police report thirteen rifles, fifteen pistols, 27 grenades and over two tons of drugs have been seized.