At least 13 killed in clashes with police in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro

At least 13 killed in clashes with police in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro

On March 23, 2023, locals walk past a truck carrying militarized police members during a police operation in the Salgueiro Complex, Sao Goncalo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. PHOTO AFP -- At least 13 people were killed in clashes with police just outside Brazil's seaside city of Rio de Janeiro after a raid to arrest a gang leader, police said on Thursday, marking another bloody episode in the sprawling metro area.

The clashes took place in the working-class Salgueiro neighborhood of Sao Goncalo, northeast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-largest city.

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Those killed were all suspected criminals, according to the police.

Leonardo Costa Araujo, who was accused of being a drug gang leader from the northern state of Para, is among the dead. He was implicated in the death of several police officers in recent years, and police believed he was hiding in the area.

According to police, the raid on Thursday sought to arrest Araujo in an operation that also employed helicopters and armored vehicles.

Rio state police forces regularly carry out deadly attacks in the metro area's sprawling slums.

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Governor Claudio Castro of Rio de Janiero state wrote a post on social media saying that they will not allow Rio to be used as a hideout for bandits from other states.

Three local residents with no suspected criminal connections were shot and wounded during the clashes, the police said.