Brazil shocked by warlike police raid that leaves 25 dead in Rio de Janeiro favela

Published in the Washington Post

With Robert Muggah

RIO DE JANEIRO — At least 25 people were killed in a police raid Thursday morning in what police and researchers are calling one of the deadliest police shootings in the history of this notoriously violent oceanside metropolis.

Shortly after dawn, police entered the sprawling favela called Jacarezinho, sending in bulletproof helicopters, armored vehicles and dozens of heavily armed police officers to do battle in one of the strongholds of the powerful criminal gang, the Red Command. Police said the criminal group had been enticing children into their ranks.

“Really grim moment in Brazil,” said Robert Muggah, co-founder of the Igarapé Institute, a Rio-based think tank that tracks trends in violence. “These shootings are obviously routine in Rio de Janeiro, but this is unprecedented, in that it’s the operation that has generated the largest number of deaths, ever.”

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