Gun battles between police and drug traffickers leave 14 killed in Rio

42480.jpegProlonged gun battles between police and drug traffickers left at least 14 people dead yesterday in Rio, including a 14-year-old girl who was reportedly shot through the chest while she surfed the internet.

The deaths came during a series of major police assaults on the city's slums, including one favela that serves as the HQ of the city's largest drug gang.

Triggered by a spate of attacks on police and drivers, the incursions began on Tuesday and involved hundreds of heavily armed police operatives, bulletproof vehicles and helicopters.

About 150 people were arrested during the sweeps by 17,500 officers while at least 22 people have been killed since Sunday, according to Rio's military police. The wounded have included two policemen and an 81-year-old man while an estimated 17,000 children were left unable to attend lessons as a result of the clashes, The Guardian reports.

Officials says drug traffickers are fighting back against a police crack down on crime in the city's slums.

Rio's favelas or shanty towns have for years been controlled by heavily armed gangs. Over 1,000 police officers have been drafted in as part of the city's "pacification" programme, according to euronews.


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