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Olympics security fears rise as 4 police slain in Rio

24 February 2015, 15:04

Rio de Janeiro - Four police officers were killed over the weekend in and around Rio de Janeiro, highlighting the Brazilian city's struggle to tame street violence ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

An officer from a special battalion for security at major events like the pope's recent visit, the 2014 Wold Cup and forthcoming Olympics, died after being shot seven times late on Sunday, according to G1 Globo news site.

Approximately 24 hours earlier, a civil police inspector was killed in the northern Baixada Fluminense suburb.

Meanwhile, in the town of Niteroi, across Rio's famous bay, an officer was killed while returning from the carnival champions' parade.

A fourth died in a shootout after a bakery robbery in the Nova Iguacu suburb.

Rio's authorities launched what they call a pacification program in the city's notoriously violent slums, or favelas, in 2008. The clampdown aimed to restore order to swaths of Rio ahead of the World Cup and what will be South America's first hosting of the Olympic Games next year.

The pacification police units are deployed across 253 favelas, home to 1.5 million people, with a mandate to wrest back control of the streets from narcotics gangs.

But bloodshed, including multiple favela shootings, continues. In January, stray bullets alone killed three people in Rio.


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