RIO DE JANEIRO – Life in the iconic Rio de Janeiro beachfront neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema was disrupted Monday by gun-battles that left at least three, and as many as five, people dead.
Three attackers were killed, four people were wounded – three of them police officers – and five suspects were arrested, according to authorities.
Witnesses, however, told media outlets that the death toll was closer to five and that the gunfire was accompanied by an explosion.
The gunplay forced the closure of shops and other businesses and traffic was re-routed away from the oceanfront, while authorities deployed an elite police unit to the zone.
The Rio de Janeiro state government has been working for years to “pacify” the dangerous favelas of Brazil’s second-largest city. Despite significant reductions in violence, clashes between police and gunmen are not uncommon. -BERNAMA