Thursday, March 09, 2006

search for stolen guns

With checkpoints on Rio de Janeiro's highways and a stormtrooper presence in nine favelas, Brazil's army pressed its search for eleven guns stolen from a local army depot, the Associated Press reports.

But, as the article notes, this "massive sweep to recover a handful of weapons" is, to put it mildly, "unusual" and, despite the presence of 1,500 troops, the army has yet to find any of the stolen guns.

That the traficantes have serious weaponry--often stolen from the armed forces--is nothing new. It has been known for years. The question is, why all the fuss now, particularly over ten assault rifles and a 9mm pistol?

Why isn't the army looking inside itself? The thieves were dressed in army regulation camouflage uniforms. How did they get them? And they apparently moved in and out of the arms depot with ease. How did that happen?

Given that the military is looking in favelas controlled by the Comando Vermelho, including Morro do Providencia and Mangueira, this would lend credence to rumors that the authorities actually favor a rival drug gang called Amigos dos Amigos.

So far, one teenager has been gunned down, caught in the crossfire between the army and the drug dealers at Morro do Providencia, not far from Rio's famed central railway station.


Anonymous said...

O Globo reported yesterday that the military is investigating ten soldiers and two officers in connection with the raid and theft of weapons.
Today, Extra reported the guns stolen from the compund were destined to be used in an attack on Rocinha.


rn said...

Thanks, Alex, for the update. It's good that the military may finally be taking this seriously.

Still, unless there's more to the story, I wonder how eleven guns is creating such a fuss. Eleven guns would not determine whether the CV would be able to dislodge ADA from Rocinha, I wouldn't think.

Back in 2002, I interviewed a police officer who commanded a Patamo, or motorized tactical patrol vehicle, in the favelas. He told me that the cops routinely recovered crates of brand new weapons that had clearly been taken from the military.

Anonymous said...

Indeed RN, according to one local report, weapons acquired from the military or police account for at least 10% of the gangs fire power. Why this is creating such a fuss I can't say, but it is certainly having a negative $ effect on the CV's trade. To me, it just goes to show that when the politicos decide to, they know how to put the squeeze on the gangs, but for whatever reason until now they have had little incentive.
On a side note, it was also recently reported that Rocinha will soon have a police battalion built there, not just a post, but a full fledged batallion, 'somewhere in the middle'.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for posting this here, but I didn't know how else to send you this link:

Brazil's Lula Vows to Spend US$ 462 Million This Year in Popular Housing


rn said...

Perhaps Lula's doing something good, or perhaps he's simply posturing, as some of the comments on the site suggest.

Meanwhile, here's another article about the situation at Morro do Providencia in downtown Rio: