Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil police sweep Rio favela after officer's murder

Police surround a house in Rocinha
Police officers moved into the Rocinha neighbourhood in force

Brazilian police are sweeping through a poor neighbourhood of the city of Rio de Janeiro after the murder of a policeman on Thursday.

They say they have arrested a suspect and seized ammunition of the same type used in the killing.

The officer was shot dead on patrol in the Rocinha neighbourhood.

Police moved into Rocinha in November as part of their efforts to restore order to areas largely run by gangs ahead of the 2014 football World Cup.

Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral called the attack on the patrol a "desperate act" by "isolated elements".

"The difference is that until two years ago, the police were the invaders," Mr Cabral wrote on Twitter.

"Now, the bandits are the invaders," he said referring to the heightened police presence in many of Rio's most dangerous areas.

The murder of police officer Diego Bruno Barbosa Henriques comes less than a week after the bodies of six teenagers were found dumped in another poor neighbourhood of Rio.

Many of Rio's most deprived areas have been occupied by the security forces as part of a "pacification programme" ahead of the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The authorities say the increased army and police presence has reduced violence and made life more bearable for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the city's poorer parts.

But critics say the gangs are just relocating to other areas, where they soon rebuild their criminal networks.

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