Six people dead in Rio drug gang violence

Vastavam web: Shoot-outs between drug gangs left at least six people dead over the weekend in two Rio de Janeiro favelas, the latest in a flare-up of violence in recent months.Through much of yesterday morning, heavy exchanges of gunfire terrorised residents of Rocinha, Rio’s biggest favela with 75,000 inhabitants.
Nearly a quarter the city’s 6.45 million population live in favelas, the term Brazilians give for the poor, densely populated neighbourhoods clustered on the city’s steep hillsides.Local security services told AFP that one person was killed in Rocinha yesterday, the day after five other people were killed in neighbourhoods north of the city.
Witness accounts on social media indicated more than one person may have been killed in Rocinha, and several videos showed armed men running through the neighbourhood’s maze of alleys.Police also were attacked in the early morning by a group of heavily armed men near the favela, according to the authorities.
A police source told AFP that they suspect the violence was due to internal divisions in the gang that controls drug trafficking in Rocinha.
According to local media, members of the same gang were behind clashes that left five dead overnight Friday to Saturdayin Morro do Juramento, a favela north of Rio.The growing sense of insecurity has been aggravated by the state of Rio’s dismal financial situation. On the verge of bankruptcy, it is a month behind in payments of wages and salaries to its workers, including the police.The government has turned to the army to combat the upsurge in violence, deploying nearly 10,000 troops at the end of July.They have already taken part in two huge operations against the armed gangs in the city’s favelas.