Latin America & Caribbean

Three Brazilians die in shoot-out in Rio shantytown

Complexo do Alemao shanty town in Rio de Janeiro on 22 May, 2014
Police say shootings in Complexo do Alemao are frequent

Three people have been killed in a shoot-out between police and alleged drug traffickers in a shanty town in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

Two youths and a police officer died in the incident in the Complexo do Alemao shanty town, local media reported.

Another officer and a youth were injured in the shooting, which happened in the early hours of Monday.

The shooting comes as tens of thousands of football fans are in Rio, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup.

Struggle for control

Brazilian security forces moved into Complexo do Alemao in force in 2012 in an effort to wrest control from criminal gangs.

Police say they regularly get ambushed by gang members in the favela

With a population of 100,000 people, it is one of the largest favelas in the Brazilian city and has become something of a tourist destination for visitors wanting to see the poorer parts of Rio.

Police said they had been fired at while on patrol in Complexo do Alemao. The officers alleged that the two dead youths had links to drug trafficking.

"They use radios to tell each other where there's a patrol and when they spot a small group of officers, they give orders to attack," a local policeman told O Globo.

Shootings continue to be frequent in the area, despite the fact that the Complexo do Alemao was among the first favelas to be "pacified".

Soldiers first moved into the shanty town in 2010, and in 2012 a permanent police presence was established in the area.

For the preceding decades, the area had been a virtual no-go zone for the security forces.

Security has been one of the main concerns for the Brazilian authorities during the World Cup and thousands of extra troops and police have been deployed to guarantee the safety of visitors and residents alike.

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