More than 1,500 anti-terrorism troops to guard Rio Olympics

A person takes a photograph of the Rio 2016 Olympic torch.
A person takes a photograph of the Rio 2016 Olympic torch. REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Brazil will deploy 1,549 soldiers exclusively on anti-terrorism duties during next year's Rio Olympics, a high-ranking officer said Wednesday.

The country is not generally considered at risk of terrorism, but the high-profile event will change that, General Mauro Sinott Lopes said.

Athletes, politicians and others visiting Rio de Janeiro "could be the object of a threat," Lopes, who heads the Special Operations Battalion and will oversee an anti-terrorism center during the Games, told journalists.

"The event will be attractive for these kinds of activities, given the delegations taking part," he said.

"We are ready to respond as necessary."

In addition to the army troops detailed on anti-terrorism, there will be an undisclosed number of police and intelligence agency officers, he said.

The military says it has consulted with more than 90 countries more familiar with terrorism.