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Police raid in Rio de Janeiro favela kills at least 13 – World news

Police raid in Rio de Janeiro favela kills at least 13 – World news

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Police in Rio de Janeiro raided the Vila Cruzeiro favela before dawn Tuesday in an operation that prompted a fierce firefight and state officials said at least 13 people died.

The operation was aimed at locating and arresting criminal leaders, some from other states, police said in a statement.

The statement — issued Tuesday morning — said agents were fired upon while preparing their incursion, that one resident was shot and killed on site. Local press reported that person was a 41-year-old woman hit by a stray bullet. The police statement also said 11 people were found wounded after the shootout and taken to a nearby state hospital.

As the day wore on, more gunshot victims were brought to that same hospital — some of whom were already dead.

Twelve deaths were confirmed in the hospital’s emergency room and five people were being treated in the trauma wing, the press office of the state’s health secretariat said in the afternoon.

The incident comes one year after a raid of the Jacarezinho favela that left 28 people dead, prompting claims of abuse and summary executions. The episode sparked protests and also reignited debate over the proper use of police force in Rio, where a common local saying is, “A good criminal is a dead criminal.”

Just weeks after the Jacarezinho raid, a stray bullet hit a young pregnant woman during a shootout between police and alleged criminals in another favela and her death prompted further protests.

Earlier this year, Brazil’s Supreme Court established a series of conditions for police to conduct raids in Rio’s favelas as a means to reduce police killings and violations of human rights. The court ruled that lethal force should only be used only in situations in which all other means have been exhausted and when necessary to protect life, and gave police 180 days to install devices to record audio and video on their uniforms and vehicles.

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Authorities on Tuesday had sought to intercept the gang’s members outside the neighborhood, which wasn’t possible after police began taking fire, Uirá do Nascimento Ferreira, leader of the military police’s tactical unit, told reporters at a news conference in Rio.

The operation was conducted jointly by the military police and federal highway police. Police seized 16 vehicles, 13 automatic rifles as well as pistols and grenades, the police statement said.

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