Rio de Janeiro: Members of a huge force sent to secure crime-ridden Rio before the Olympics next month have already come under fire, officials said Wednesday, while Brazil`s interim president promised "absolute peace" at the Games.
The shooting incident in the troubled north of Rio de Janeiro underlined the challenge to ensure safety for the 10,500 athletes and 500,000 tourists expected at the August 5-21 Olympics, the first ever held in South America.
Brazil is deploying 85,000 police and soldiers, double the number used in the London 2012 Olympics.
The attack on an elite police unit on Tuesday was the first since the reinforcements started to deploy, although similar shootings between city police and drug traffickers are an almost daily event.
"A vehicle from the national force was returning from a reconnaissance mission when it was shot at. A wing mirror was hit, but no one was injured. The agents returned fire and exchanged shots in an exchange that lasted a few seconds," a spokesman for the Justice Ministry told AFP.
O Dia and Globo newspapers earlier reported the incident, which comes against a backdrop of soaring numbers of muggings and a rise in murders on last year.
However, officials said Wednesday that visitors to the Olympics have nothing to fear.
"The country has put together a solid security program of 85,000 federal, state and municipal government personnel to ensure that sporting events take place in an atmosphere of absolute peace and tranquility," said Brazil`s interim president Michel Temer.
"This contingent of security personnel will work in an integrated fashion, overseeing the protection of athletes, coaching staff, heads of state, government officials, local residents and journalists," he said in an open letter posted in English on the Facebook page of the country`s Olympic organizing committee.
Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told a press conference that he could guarantee "peace, with the happiness and calmness that we expect."