RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian President Michel Temer signed an executive order on Friday authorizing the deployment of 10,240 soldiers and federal law-enforcement officers in Rio de Janeiro state, where violent crime has surged in recent months.
The federal forces will be used primarily for specific operations targeting organized crime, Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.
Even so, the federal contingent will also be available to provide support to the state police in carrying out their ordinary duties, the minister said.
“The military will not take part in occupations of favelas (shantytowns), as on previous occasions. They will be used as a last resort when necessary. But we don’t rule out their also helping patrol the streets,” Jungmann said.
The announcement of the federal deployment coincided with the appearance of armored vehicles as the army established checkpoints on several highways leading into the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Published in a special edition of the official gazette, Temer’s order authorizes the federal forces to remain in Rio state until Dec. 31.
Jungmann, however, said that the president is prepared to extend the employment as long as necessary.
Most of the federal troops and police will be concentrated in the Rio city metropolitan area, he said.
The federal contingent comprises 8,500 military personnel, 620 members of the elite National Security Force and 380 officers of the Federal Highway Police.