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Rio police 'take control' of favela after battle

Rio police 'take control' of favela after battle
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After running street battles, police in Rio de Janeiro say they have regained control of a shanty town where drugs gangs had gathered in the face of an ongoing crackdown.

Armed officers used tanks and helicopters to push into Vila Cruzeiro, where gangs had regrouped after being flushed out of other favelas.

Officials say the gangs set up barricades, robbed motorists, and fired at police outposts.

At least 30 people have been killed in five days of clashes.

A police colonel said:

“There is no deadline. We will continue our operation in the favela until we bring peace to these communities.”

As the police took over, suspected gang members fled across an area known as “the green hell” to a neighbouring gang stronghold.

The latest operation in this and other shanty towns left eight people dead, said the authorities.

Civilians have been caught up in the battles.

While gang members fled, those left behind did what they could to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

The police say they are targetting gang leaders . More than 150 suspects have been arrested in the raids.

By acting now, the authorities want the violence stamped out by the time Brazil hosts the 2014 football World Cup. Rio itself stages the Olympic Games two years later.