Another innocent victim in the ‘war on drugs’: 16-year-old student shot dead in favela during shootout between police and drug traffickers in Rio

16-year old Thayssa da Silva is the latest victim of a war between Military Police and drug traffickers
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16-year old Thayssa da Silva is the latest victim of a war between Military Police and drug traffickers

Note from BW of Brazil: I’ve said it several times in past posts. With the prevalence of violence throughout Brazil, I could run a blog that focuses solely on general violence or specifically murders that are a result of police interventions. This story is just like all the others, is sad as it involves a young woman who had nothing to do with the situation. The story is also typical in the fact that police always attempt to justify their actions by claiming that they were targeted by gunfire but there is always someone in the community that contradicts the police version of the story. This is a huge reason why there will always be a need for independent media, for, as we’ve seen, police violence is often fully supported by the mainstream media. 

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UPP patrol a neighborhood in Rio (Photo: Ricardo Moraes)

In order for readers to understand why residents of Rio’s low income neighborhoods call this police presence an occupation, just take a look at the weapons, tanks and equipment that is being used in these communities. While you look at the photos, just imagine seeing these type of police waling around in your neighborhood as you go to work, pick up your children from school or go to church. Then ask yourself, would you feel safer with this military styled presence or would you actually fear for your life?

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Police in a low income neighborhood in Rio (photo: Antonio Lacerda)

16-year-old student shot dead in favela during shootout between police and drug traffickers

Thayssa da Silva Matos was struck in the stomach and underwent two surgeries, but succumbed to hemorrhaging.

On Friday, Thayssa da Silva, the 16-year-old student who was hospitalized at the Souza Aguiar Municipal Hospital in downtown Rio since Tuesday died after being shot during a shootout between Military Police and drug traffickers in the Morro dos Prazeres section of Santa Teresa.

According to Djenane Silva, Thayssa’s aunt, the teenager, who was on vacation, was injured while going to her grandmother’s house in the town known as Uga-Uga, which is close to Rua Gomes Lopes, one of the main access points to the hill.

“She had just arrived from the beach. She went home, took a shower, and went to see her grandmother. The whole community, not just the family, is outraged. My niece was a quiet girl, she didn’t hang around, she went from home to school and vice versa. She really enjoyed staying in her room playing the guitar,” Djenane said.

Thayssa’s blood marks were still seen yesterday at the spot where she was shot. According to residents, investigators didn’t do any crime scene investigation in the area. The Civil Police didn’t comment on the denouncement.

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UPP unit in a Rio neighborhood

The command of the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP or Pacifying Police Unit) of Morro dos Prazeres reported that, early Tuesday evening, a team of MPs on patrol came under fire by criminals in the area known as Beco do Aguinaldo. One woman, however, said it was the police who opened fire first. She further stated that many children were playing in the street when the confrontation began:

“I was just coming home from work. I met Thayssa’s mother and we talked at the gate of my house. Suddenly, the shooting began, everyone panicked and each one ran to one side. Beco de Aguinaldo is far from Uga-Uga. Then I heard a police soldier asking colleagues if a girl had been hit.”

On the same day that Thayssa was shot, a man was killed in Morro do Fallet, in the same region, during another confrontation between MPs and traffickers. Merchants from Rua do Riachuelo, which runs from downtown to the Lapa neighborhood, had to close their store doors on Tuesday and Wednesday, because of a command from traffickers.

Source: 24 Horas News

About Marques Travae 2895 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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