Heavily armed Brazilian army troops and police launched a pre-dawn crackdown Saturday on gangs operating out of slums across Rio de Janeiro, following a steep rise in crime.
Five favelas were targeted by the combined forces in a swoop that started in the early hours, the Rio state security service said in a statement. Their main goal was to stop gangs behind a surge in brazen robberies of commercial trucks.
Brazil’s Globo television showed footage of soldiers in camouflage searching residents in the favelas and driving down streets in armored personnel carriers.
Officials said the favelas were Lins, Camarista Meier, Morros de Sao Joao and Engenho Novo in the north and Covanca in the west.
“The armed forces are responsible for the perimeters in some of these regions and based at strategic points,” the state security service said. “Some roads are blocked and the airspace is restricted to civilian flights over the sectors …
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