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Rio’s main favela taken over by troops

RIO DE JANEIRO (BDCi) – The notorious hillside “favela” or slum of Rocinha was occupied by three thousand troops, helicopters and armored vehicles, marking a huge step forward in the city’s attempt to heighten security and bring an end to drug gangs.

The occupation is also an important part Rio’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Merco Press reports that police and soldiers started to climb the slum’s roads around 4 a.m. Within two hours the operation was declared a success. No resistance was encountered.

A “pacification” program follows up the favela invasions, handing control over to trained community police and providing the areas with services like TV and electricity. The program aims to include the roughly one million slum residents in Brazil’s booming economy.

Antonio Bonfim Lopes, the slum’s top drug lord, was captured just a few days ago.

Gangs and militia groups still control some of the bigger slums, located in more distant areas.

By: Diego Díaz Source: Merco Press Photo: Merco Press 14 November 2011

1:27 p.m. P.D.T.

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