By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Police forces have launched a number of operations in various favela communities in recent days in preparation for the occupation the Jacarezinho and Manguinhos favelas in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone), which is expected to take place on Sunday (October 14th). Military police (PMs) and Bope tactical squads have targeted arms and drugs traffickers in the run-up to the operation, seizing weapons and ammunition.
Rio’s marines might also be called in to help with the operation, reports say. Police have been carrying out spot-checks on motorists in the region’s roads.
Armored police vehicles and helicopters are expected to be used in the operation to secure the gang-controlled slums of Rio’s Zona Norte, one of the biggest favelas regions along with Complexo do Alemão (also Zona Norte) and Rocinha (Zona Sul – South Zone).
Criminal gangs are said to have moved into the area around Jacaré and Manguinhos after being flushed out of other, recently pacified favela communities, particularly after pacification operations around the Morro do Alemão.
The area is now one of Rio’s most dangerous places, although locals are well used to the regular armed confrontation between gangs and police which have blighted the area over the past decade.
Sunday’s operation will pave the way for the installation of the city’s 29th and 30th Police Pacification Units (UPPs), which have reported success in reducing levels of violence, it was recently announced.
The operation was given the go-ahead three months ago by Public Security Secretary José Mariano Beltrame, but appears to have been postponed until now due to the recent municipal elections. Beltrame recently reiterated the need for UPPs in the region: “These are extremely big areas. If you are to police an area like this, police officers need to be placed inside it.”
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