RIO DE JANEIRO - One person was shot dead as Rio police clashed Friday with armed men in a favela close to the luxury hotel where the England football team will stay during the Brazil World Cup.
The Rocinha favela is easily visible from the Royal Tulip, the hotel that Wayne Rooney and the rest of the England team will use as their base for the World Cup, which kicks off on June 12. Rio hosts seven games, including the July 13 final, and in 2016 will stage the Olympics. ‘There was a brief exchange of gunfire and a suspect was injured and taken to hospital,’ a police statement said. The suspect later died and a pistol and stash of drugs were found where the shootout occurred. Rio authorities have over the past six years established 39 so-called police pacification units.
, or UPPs, in the favelas in an attempt to smash drug and street gangs. But recent months have seen several clashes between drug dealers fearing the loss of their turf and police, with residents often caught in the crossfire. On Thursday, police arrested Rio's top cocaine trafficker.
Eduardo Herculano da Silva, 41, nicknamed O Aviao (‘the plane’), was said to have been preparing to undergo plastic surgery and was plotting to flee to neighboring Bolivia, police told Rio media after snaring him. Da Silva was active in four slums, known as favelas, and handled an estimated 200 kilos (440 pounds) of Bolivian and Paraguayan cocaine a month, O Globo reported. Thursday also saw two policemen injured in another shooting, in the Alemao cluster of favelas. The area, a bastion of drug traffickers, was ‘pacified’ in 2010 but sporadic clashes continue. Last month, police received army support to enter favelas in the Mara area near Rio's international airport. Overall, 150,000 police and troops will be on duty in Brazil for the World Cup, backed up by 20,000 private security personnel.