New­born lat­est vic­tim of Rio de Janeiro’s surg­ing vi­o­lence

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Arthur was still in­side his mother’s womb when he be­came Rio de Janeiro’s lat­est vic­tim of gun vi­o­lence. His mother, Claudineia dos San­tos Melo, was al­most nine months preg­nant when she was hit by a stray bul­let from a shootout in a Rio slum on June 30. Dur­ing an emer­gency ce­sarean sec­tion doc­tors dis­cov­ered that a bul­let had also hit Arthur, dam­ag­ing his lungs and spine.

Doc­tors say the mother is in sta­ble, non-life threat­en­ing con­di­tion while her new­born is cling­ing to life in a case that has shocked Brazil­ians and un­der­scored surg­ing gun vi­o­lence in Rio. “We had never seen this be­fore,” Rafael Lopes, the head sur­geon at the Moa­cyr Ro­drigues de Carmo hos­pi­tal where Arthur was de­liv­ered, said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Mon­day. Doc­tors said it was a mir­a­cle Arthur was still alive, breath­ing with the help of ma­chines and cur­rently para­plegic, though they added it was too soon to say if he would re­main so for­ever.

Ac­cord­ing to Fogo Cruzado,” or “Cross­fire,” a free app cre­ated by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional Brazil, there have been an av­er­age of 13 shoot­ings a day in the Rio metropoli­tan area over the past 11 months. Most of the shoot­ings oc­cur in hill­side slums con­trolled by drug gangs. On the same day Melo was shot, a mother and daugh­ter were killed in the Mangueira favela near the iconic Mara­cana sta­dium as po­lice and crim­i­nals ex­changed fire for over three hours.

Mar­lene Maria da Con­ce­icao, 76, was shot in the door­way of her home. Her 42-year-old daugh­ter, Ana Cristina da Con­ce­icao, was also hit when she tried to help her mother. “The state gov­ern­ment has aban­doned the com­mu­ni­ties,” said Mangueira com­mu­nity leader Wash­ing­ton For­tu­nato at the women’s fu­neral. Last year, 920 peo­ple died dur­ing po­lice raids or pa­trols in Rio state ac­cord­ing to its Pub­lic Se­cu­rity In­sti­tute. This year’s fig­ure is up by al­most 60 per­cent over 2016. “I hope no fam­ily has to go through what we are go­ing through be­cause it is too painful,” said Arthur’s un­cle, Wal­ter de Melo, as he ac­com­pa­nied the speech­less fa­ther to reg­is­ter the child.— AP

RIO DE JANEIRO: Claudineia Dos San­tos Melo takes a selfie in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Claudineia dos San­tos Melo was 35 weeks into her preg­nancy when she was caught in a cross­fire in the Duque de Cax­ias slum, of the metropoli­tan Rio de Janeiro area. Ac­cord­ing to doc­tors, a bul­let en­tered the side of her hip per­fo­rat­ing her uterus and crit­i­cally in­jur­ing the baby in­side her womb. —AP

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