Rio de Janeiro Seeks Federal Troops to Quell Favela Uprising

Rio de Janeiro’s Governor Sergio Cabral asked President Dilma Rousseff to deploy federal forces to the state capital’s slums following the death of four policemen in shootouts this year.

Police took fire in the Manguinhos slum yesterday, with one officer shot. Shootouts occurred in three other favelas where police have set up so-called pacification units and five garrisons were burned. Four policemen have been killed on duty in the favelas in 2014, versus three in all of last year, according to the press office of the state security secretariat.

“Organized crime is trying to destabilize the presence of police in these communities with cowardly attacks, generating panic and disturbance,” Cabral told reporters in Brasilia. “There is a clear intent to demoralize the pacification policy.”

State police forces have disrupted drug traffickers’ business since 2008 by establishing a permanent presence in 38 slums previously run by gangs. The number of homicides in the capital, which will host the World Cup soccer final in July, rose 10 percent last year after dropping in 2012 to its lowest level in more than two decades.

“We have an excellent security plan for the World Cup,” Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo told reporters. Federal intelligence officers including Cardozo will visit Rio on March 24 to analyze the situation and define the plan, he said.

Federal public safety troops occupied prisons in Maranhao state from October to last month to boost security following the torture and beheading of some inmates.

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