Brazil: Foreign tourist raped on Rio de Janeiro minibus

Police in  Rio slum, March 3, 2013 Police have launched major operations in recent years to curb drug-related violence in Rio's slums ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics

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A foreign tourist has been raped and robbed on a minibus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police say.

Two men have been arrested. They attacked the couple, who had boarded the minibus in the Copacabana area of the city, police say.

The couple's identities and nationalities have not been disclosed.

Curbing violence is a major priority for the authorities in Rio, which is hosting the football World Cup next year and the 2016 Olympics.

Police say two suspects have been arrested: Jonathan Foudakis de Souza, 20, the bus driver, and Wallace Aparecido de Souza Silva, 22.

Dumped outside Rio

Analysis

This horrific ordeal creates damaging headlines for Rio de Janeiro at a time when the city is preparing to host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

In recent years, the city has improved its image through its policy of "pacification", with the authorities wrestling back control of some of the city's shanty towns from the drug traffickers who dominated them.

However, when it comes to rape there is still a major problem to be confronted.

Official figures show that in December 2012 alone, 488 rapes were reported across the state of Rio, which has a population of around 16 million people.

Unusually in this case, the rape involved a tourist visiting the city and the authorities will hope the speed of the arrests will be taken as evidence they are adopting a tough approach.

The suspects told other passengers to get off the bus, and drove it to the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, police said.

The woman was raped repeatedly as the minibus crossed the long bridge over the Guanabara Bay in Rio.

Her boyfriend was handcuffed and badly beaten.

The couple were dumped in the nearby city of Itaborai, after being forced to use their credit cards for shopping and to withdraw money from cash machines, the police report says.

The two alleged culprits were arrested hours after the attack.

Police are looking for a third man. He was contacted by mobile phone, boarded the bus outside Rio and also raped the woman, police say.

Robberies are a common occurrence on buses in Rio de Janeiro and other big Brazilian cities, but the violence and audacity of this attack has shocked local media.

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