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Ten dead in police operations in Rio shantytowns

11-25-2010 08:30 BJT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- At least ten people were killed on Wednesday morning during a series of operations carried out by the Rio police in the city's shantytowns.

Policemen stand guard around a burned bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov. 24, 2010.
A wave of violence began on Sunday as suspected drug gang members attacked on
police stations and set fire to vehicles in Rio de Janeiro. (Xinhua/Agencia Estado)

The operations aimed at catching the criminals involved in a crime spree which has been devastating Rio's metro area since last weekend. Multiple incidents occurred in different parts of Rio, with criminals setting cars and buses on fire.

According to the police, from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, 15 attacks occurred in the city, while five buses and 13 cars were burned.

Since the weekend, the number of attacks has reached 22, and criminals have shot at three police boxes.

The police said that the attacks aimed at intimidating the population and causing panic. The number of policemen in the streets was increased, and officers who were on leave or used to work in offices were also assigned to patrols.

The police's public relations officer, Lieutenant Colonel Lima Castro, told a local TV station that it is possible that two rival criminal gangs have teamed up to carry out the attacks.

According to Castro, local crime lord Nem, who dominates the drug trafficking industry in the city's largest shantytown, Rocinha, may be the mastermind behind the crime spree.

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