Brazil Sends 6,500 Troops to Secure Borders

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The Brazilian Ministry of Defense has deployed 6,500 troops along its border with Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru in a huge operation aimed at combating drug trafficking and organized crime.

In what has been described as “the largest coordinated border action in its history” Brazil’s Army, Air Force and Navy will carry out operations “Agata 3” and “Cadeado” to counter various crimes along the more than 4,000-mile border with Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. The troops will be supported by 57 aircraft and 10 warships.

Soldiers will be deployed to the border states of Amazonas, Acre, Rondonia, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.

The operations form part of a Strategic Border Plan launched by President Dilma Rousseff in June, which will see Brazil invest $6.3 billion over the next eight years to strengthen border defense. Rousseff has said increasing security along Brazil’s borders is her government’s number one security priority.

Paraguayan officials have protested against the neighboring country’s military operations along the border, from where drugs, weapons, and contraband goods are smuggled into Brazil, often by Brazil-based criminal networks.

On 31 October, Brazil’s Defense Minister, Celso Amorim, signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” in La Paz with his Bolivian counterpart, Ruben Saavedra, with the aim of developing joint military operations along 3,000-mile border shared by the two nations in 2012.

MercoPress news agency reported that Brazilian forces have seized 62 tons of narcotics and made 3,000 arrests since the border security plan was approved, while over 650 tons of weapons and explosives have been seized, according to Rousseff.

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