An operation by Brazilian military police in Rio de Janeiro on Friday left at least 13 people dead in three city-center favelas, authorities said.
The local health authority told AFP that 14 people were taken to the Souza Aguiar hospital with gunshot wounds following the operation at favelas close to the Santa Teresa neighborhood.
One person remained in a serious condition while the other 13 were dead, the health authority said.
Firefights often break out in favelas during battles between rival gangs or when the police launch operations to combat drug trafficking.
According to local reports, two drug-trafficking gangs had been fighting since Wednesday for control over the favelas close to Santa Teresa.
The military police said on Twitter they had "shot 12 criminals" during the operation in the Fallet, Fogueteiro and Coroa favelas.
All three are close to the Santa Teresa neighborhood, one of Rio's top tourist attractions.
Security forces were "met by gunfire and a battle took place," the police said.
"Once the firefight was over, injured criminals were found in the streets and were taken to the Souza Aguiar hospital."
Authorities said they had seized three assault rifles, 12 pistols and six grenades, pictures of which were posted on the military police's Twitter page.
A video posted on the website of the local O Dia newspaper showed police loading bodies into the back of a vehicle.
A quarter of Rio's population of six million people live in favelas -- big city slums.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/256306|