28 Nov 2010

Shanty town in Rio now under police control

7:45 am on 28 November 2010

Police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, say they now have total control of a shanty town in the north of the city, in a security crackdown.

Armoured vehicles were deployed to carry 150 armed police and troops into Vila Cruzeiro, in the north of the city, on Thursday after five days of clashes with drug gangs in which at least 30 people have been killed.

Eight of these were killed on Thursday.

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

Public safety director Jose Beltrame said state police would receive additional support from federal law enforcement, in order to hold on to Vila Cruzeiro.

He told reporters that "we're not leaving".

The pacification programme is aimed at improving security and the rule of law in the run-up to Brazil's hosting of the football World Cup in 2014 and Rio's staging of the Olympic Games two years later.

The BBC reports some 17,500 police officers have been deployed in the operation.