POSTED: October 18th 2009

Rio 2016 security fears over bloody gang wars by drug traffickers

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

RIO DE JANEIRO: Bloody gang battles in Rio de Janeiro which saw a police helicopter forced to crash-land on a football pitch have sparked renewed concerns over security at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

This comes little over two weeks after the Brazilian city was also awarded the 2016 Games even though residents have been terrorized  by bloody violence between drug cartels. Two police officers and 10 suspected gang members were killed in a violent gang war where eight public buses were set on fire by suspected drug traffickers.

National newspaper O Globo reported that about 15 armed masked men had ordered passengers to leave one bus before setting it on fire.

Rio 2016 Olympic officials were quick to defend the city's sporting awards as state governor Sergio Cabral assured local media that the IOC had been fully aware of the city’s security challenges. He said that money was being funneled into measures to assure "overwhelming presence" at both sports event to ensure proper security.

This outbreak of violence had only toughened their resolve to improve national security prior to both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Games. Cabral added that up to 40,000 security agents could be drawn from the federal, state and municipal police to keep the city safe for sports events.

Drug dealers shot down a police helicopter hitting the pilot in the leg and causing him to lose control and crash-land into a football pitch. Two officers aboard the aircraft were killed while three other policemen and the pilot escaped with burns before the helicopter exploded.

The violence took place in the Morro dos Macacos (Monkey Hill) favelas area in northern Rio just five miles away from one of the projected Olympic clusters. Police said they had killed the 10 suspected traffickers in the gun battle between the rival gangs but that four residents were wounded in the cross fire.

Keywords · Rio 2016 · 2014 World Cup · Sergio Cabral

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