Rio slum crackdown: 118 arrests, 518 guns seized

The unprecedented police-military sweep was designed to clean up Rio`s image.

Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro`s nearly two-week crackdown on drug gangs in two major slum districts netted 118 arrests and 518 weapons seizures, the state-owned Agencia Brasil news agency said.

The unprecedented police-military sweep of the Vila Cruzeiro and Complexo do Alemao favelas was designed to clean up the city`s image before it hosts the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

It began on November 21 and ended this week with 37 suspected wrongdoers killed.

The Civil Police force said those arrested included 21 minors, and that it seized 518 weapons, including 200 handguns, 140 rifles, 38 grenades and six homemade bombs.

Last weekend, the police and military occupied both slum districts, which had been strongholds of drug gangs for years, after a series of attacks on police stations and 100 vehicle fires triggered outrage in the city.

To allay locals` fears the drug gangs might return after the security forces clear out, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said the troops would remain in the occupied favelas "as long as necessary to secure the peace”.

Lula approved a request from Rio authorities for hundreds of soldiers to remain deployed in Complexo do Alemao well into next year, and perhaps beyond.

Bureau Report

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