RIO DE JANEIRO – Four people were killed and two others wounded in a shootout between drug traffickers in São Gonçalo, a city in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, Brazilian police said.
The gunfight started Saturday when members of the Comando Vermelho (Red Command), Rio de Janeiro’s largest gang, tried to take over the Vila Candosa “favela,” or shantytown, which is under the control of the rival Amigos dos Amigos gang.
It was an attempted invasion and they met resistance, police chief Roberto Gil told Globonews.
The Red Command members threw two homemade bombs at a bar where the rival gang members were and then exchanged gunfire.
Two drug traffickers died in the attack and two others were killed when they tried to flee, Gil said.
Rio de Janeiro has become one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil due to the constant clashes involving drug gangs, police and death squads.
A third of Rio’s 6 million people live in dwellings in the favelas, where drug traffickers often wield power through violence, replacing the government.
In some 200 shantytowns, according to official estimates, drug traffickers have been pushed out by death squads made up of active and retired police officers, who take justice into their own hands, creating a new challenge for the government.
A total of 1,400 people were murdered in Rio de Janeiro state between January and April, the latest period for which figures are available.
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