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Police find 3 torched bodies in western Rio de Janeiro, suspect victims of gang-militia battle

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RIO DE JANEIRO - Police in Rio de Janeiro have found the torched bodies of three people they suspect were victims of an ongoing battle between a drug gang and a criminal militia.

The bodies were discovered early Saturday in the gritty Praca Seca area of Rio — about 8 miles (13 kilometres) west of the Maracana soccer stadium that is hosting World Cup matches.

The area where the bodies were found has been wracked by tension as a powerful drug gang battles against a militia in the area.

Militias in Rio largely are made up of former or current firefighters and police officers. They are a growing presence in poor areas, where they run illegal rackets for electricity and cable TV hook ups, along with van services.

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