26 Nov 2010

Armoured vehicles deployed against gangs in Rio

10:36 am on 26 November 2010

Police in Rio de Janeiro have deployed armoured vehicles in a shanty town in an attempt to stem a wave of gang violence.

Six vehicles transporting 150 armed officers rolled into Vila Cruzeiro, in the north of the city, at midday on Thursday.

Clashes in Rio since the weekend have left 23 people dead.

Brazilian officials said that drug traffickers had regrouped in Vila Cruzeiro after being expelled from other shanty towns in the city.

Armed men have been stopping cars and buses, robbing passengers and setting vehicles alight.

Rio's favelas have for years been controlled by heavily armed drug trafficking gangs.

The BBC reports the pacification programme is aimed at improving security and the rule of law in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later.