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22 dead since Sunday in Brazil slum violence

From the CNN Wire Staff
A police armored vehicle patrols the streets near the Vila Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro.
A police armored vehicle patrols the streets near the Vila Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 153 suspects have been arrested since Sunday, police say
  • The violence was caused by the transfer of prisoners, security official says
  • Two rival drug gangs collaborated to launch the attacks, he says
  • The attacks started Sunday in Rio de Janeiro

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (CNN) -- Fourteen people died and another 25 were arrested Wednesday in drug-gang violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, military police said Wednesday.

That brings the total to 22 dead and 153 arrested since Sunday, police said.

The gangs have shot up a police station and torched at least five buses and 11 cars in the attacks, officials said.

It was not immediately clear if all the dead were gang members, or if civilians and police also suffered fatalities.

The violence stems from the transfer of prisoners from local institutions to federal lockups in other states, the government-run Agencia Brasil news outlet reported, citing Rio de Janeiro Public Security Secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame. Some of those prisoners ordered the violence, Beltrame said.

Brazil's street violence spikes
RELATED TOPICS
  • Brazil
  • Rio de Janeiro

The attacks also came as a result of police trying to remove some drug gang members from Rio's slums, called favelas.

Beltrame said two rival gangs joined forces to launch the attacks.

The security chief also said he mobilized all police in the city to try to restore order and to step up police presence in 17 of Rio's slums.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva addressed the situation Tuesday.

"I called the justice minister and told him to attend to Rio de Janeiro with whatever he needs," Lula told CNN affiliate TV Record.

Officials are concerned about crime in Brazil as the nation prepares to host the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio.

Journalist Luciani Gomes contributed to this story.

 
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