Brazil sends 1,000 additional officers to combat Rio violence

Militarised police officers carrying assault rifles patrol a street of the Mangueira shanty town in Rio de Janeiro on July 17, 2017.
Militarised police officers carrying assault rifles patrol a street of the Mangueira shanty town in Rio de Janeiro on July 17, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - The Brazilian government has deployed 1,000 additional personnel to combat insecurity in Rio de Janeiro, which has seen a spike in violence in recent months, authorities said on Thursday.

The country's Secretary of Institutional Security, Sergio Etchegoyen, told journalists that the government had dispatched 620 officers of the national force and 380 traffic police to shore up security.

"We are in the process of developing a long-term plan to reduce crime in Rio," Etchegoyen said.

The national force is a reserve corps of police and firefighters that can be deployed at the request of states.

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The traffic police have been mobilised due to a recent sharp increase in theft of goods. The supplementary forces will also aim to stem the influx of weapons fuelling wars between narcotraffickers.

Insecurity has been exacerbated by the catastrophic financial situation in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is on the brink of bankruptcy and pays its officials, including police, after months of delay.

Violence has surged in the city, which hosted the Summer Olympics just one year ago. A shocking three people a day were hit by stray bullets in the first six months of the year.

State governor Luiz Fernando Pezao met President Michel Temer and several other ministers to discussion solutions to the crisis on Thursday.