RIO DE JANEIRO – Three suspects were killed on Thursday during a police sweep of a sprawling Rio de Janeiro slum where five people died last week in fighting between gangs and security forces, Brazilian authorities said.
The operation was carried out following a pre-dawn attack on a police outpost in the Complexo do Alemão area, the Rio de Janeiro state police said.
The three dead suspects were in possession of handguns, grenades, and illegal drugs, according to police.
Four other suspects were wounded and one of them is under police guard at a hospital.
As the police operation unfolded, some 200 drivers of motorcycle taxis gathered to wave signs and chant slogans in favor of peace and against the 5-year-old police post, which some residents blame for the violence in their neighborhood.
Police subsequently said they obtained information showing that the protest was mounted as a diversion to allow drug dealers to flee.
Personnel from the coroner’s office needed more than two hours to remove the bodies of the slain suspects, as one of them was lying on top of an unexploded live grenade, police told EFE.
The violence forced six schools in the area to cancel classes, affecting nearly 5,600 students, O Globo newspaper reported.
Alemão was the scene last week of intense gunfights as gangs tried to prevent the installation of a fortified police observation tower.