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Rio's gang-fighting security chief resigns

The security head of Brazil's state of Rio de Janeiro who was responsible for a "police pacification" plan in gang-ridden slums has resigned. The resignation comes amid budget cuts for security.

Arrival Cities Santa Marta Rio Brasilien (Getty Images/M. Tama)

Rio de Janeiro security chief Jose Mariano Beltrame will step down at the end of the month after nearly a decade fighting crime in gang-infested slums, the state government said on Tuesday.

Beltrame was behind the creation Police Pacification Units (UPPs) designed to take back control of slums, or favelas, from violent drug gangs. The controversial units are credited with clamping down on violence and drug gangs that plagued Rio ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

The 58-year-old security chief had pushed for a second phase of the plan to increase public services such as health and education to follow up on security gains.

Hit by an economic crisis and falling revenues, the state's security and public service budget has been cut this year.

The resignation comes as violence has spiked in recent months as gangs attempt to retake control of the slums where some 1.5 million people live in the city of more than 12 million.

On Monday, a gun battle between police and drug-gangs left three people dead and five wounded in a slum overlooking the wealthy tourist beach neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema.

Watch video 00:30

Three dead in Rio favela shootout

cw/bw (AFP, Reuters)

 

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