Policeman shot dead in Rio favela violence

Fresh violence in a Rio slum left one policeman dead Saturday -- one day after the federal government stepped in to bring unruly favelas under control before the World Cup starts.

Police said the 44-year-old officer was shot in the throat in an exchange of gunfire in a western district in the early hours after he had challenged two young men who soon fled on a motorbike.

On Friday, Rio state governor Sergio Cabral held emergency talks with President Dilma Rousseff after a spate of attacks, with Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo saying afterwards that the federal government in Brasilia had agreed to provide backup for Rio police.

With the World Cup barely 10 weeks away Cardozo insisted the government had every confidence in "an excellent security plan" for the tournament.

The government will reveal Monday the exact scope of the help in will be providing Rio, where city authorities have been battling gang violence for decades.

Over the past six years, authorities in the former capital, which will host the Olympic Games in two years time, have attempted to "pacify" the favelas.

To date, 38 so-called Police Pacification Units (UPPs) comprising more than 9,000 police have been established in slums home to around 600,000 people.

However, recent weeks have seen a spate of attacks on UPPs, raising alarm given that Rio will host seven World Cup matches, including the final.

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