25 dead in Rio de Janeiro shootout: report
At least 25 people including a police officer were killed Thursday in a shootout in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to the BBC, with another two people wounded after being hit by bullets.
The shots rang out after police launched a raid in a low-income settlement in the Jacarezinho area of the city, reportedly targeting a gang involved in drug trafficking, mugging, murders and kidnappings.
Police had received reports that gang members were recruiting children, the BBC reported.
According to Human Rights Watch, Rio de Janeiro police have been accused of using excessive force against civilians while trying to crack down on criminal activity. Police killed 606 people living in favelas in the city in the first four months of 2020, the group noted.
Sociology professor Ignacio Cano from the Laboratory for the Analysis of Violence at Rio State University echoed these sentiments to the BBC, dismissing the police’s reported motive behind the raid.
“To say that drug traffickers recruit children and teenagers to deal drugs is almost laughable because everyone knows that these gangs have minors who work for them.”
He added, “To say that you’re going to launch a massive raid because you’ve discovered that traffickers recruit children is a joke.”
Brazilian police confirmed that one of their officers had died, saying in a statement posted to social media that “he honoured the profession he loved and will be missed.”