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Brazil to get new public security ministry

February 18, 2018

Brazil's president has said a Ministry for Public Security will be created to coordinate security countrywide. The announcement comes after security control in crime-riddled Rio de Janeiro was given to the military.

A military officer in the Barbante slum of Rio de Janeiro
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Zuma Wire/F. Teixeira

Brazilian President Michel Temer on Saturday announced he wants to create a public security ministry for the country, after handing over control of security in Rio state to the military.

Speaking following a meeting in Rio de Janeiro with Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, several ministers and General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who is to lead the Rio operations, Temer said he planned to form the ministry in the next few weeks.

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"From next week or the next, I want to create a Ministry of Public Security to coordinate all efforts," said Temer after leaving the meeting.

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The new ministry would have a similar portfolio to that of the Interior Ministry.

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Army patrols are already used in Rio's gang-ruled favelas, but a decree signed by Temer on Friday gives the military overall control of security operations in Rio state, which the president said had been virtually seized by organized crime gangs.

Brazilian police are normally under state supervision.

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Temer's order for the military to take care of security in Rio puts General Netto in command. He will report directly to the president rather than to authorities in Rio.

Rio is Brazil's third most populous state with around 16 million inhabitants, and 6.5 million live in the capital, Rio de Janeiro.

The decree is already in force but still needs to be validated by Congress. A vote has been scheduled for Monday evening.

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The army's control will last until the end of Temer's term as president on December 31.

Temer said he was taking "extreme measures" to combat organized crime which has spread throughout the country "and threatens the tranquility of our people."

law/ng (AFP, AP)

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