RIO DE JANEIRO — Elite police units riding in military armored vehicles rumbled through a heavily fortified slum Thursday hunting for drug gang leaders blamed for five days of violence, even as dozens of armed youths fled to a neighboring shantytown.
The push into the Vila Cruzeiro shantytown left at least eight people dead and one police officer wounded, authorities said. It is part of a police campaign to clean up Rio's drug gang-ridden slums before the city hosts football's World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics two years later.
The officers arrived in Vila Cruzeiro on Thursday under the cover of police helicopters and amid the rattle of gunfire despite the gang members' efforts to block access with burning vehicles.
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