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Brazilian security official resigns ahead of Rio 2016

The operational upheaval surrounding the 2016 Olympics has continued with the resignation of the commander of a Brazilian security force involved in preparations for the upcoming summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The commander, Colonel Adilson Moreira, resigned earlier this week, Brazil’s Justice Ministry confirmed yesterday (Thursday). He led the National Force for Public Security, a collective of police and other law enforcement officials.

The organisation’s members will be deployed around sporting venues used during the Olympic Games, which run from August 5-21. The force represents about 10 per cent of the more than 80,000 police, soldiers and other security personnel that will be in place for Rio 2016.

The Reuters news agency said the Justice Ministry did not give any reason for Moreira’s departure. However, Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo said the colonel had sent an email to subordinates criticising President Dilma Rousseff, who is currently fighting impeachment proceedings, and other senior officials.

Officials said planning for the Olympics is well advanced and would not be affected by any personnel changes. “Instability, political turbulence and economic difficulties are bad and they can generate uncertainty, but people should know that our security operations involve more than 80,000 people,” Andrei Rodrigues, who heads a special government agency that oversees major events, said. “There is no reason to worry.”

News of Moreira’s exit came a day after Rousseff confirmed that Ricardo Leyser had taken over from George Hilton as the country’s Sports Minister on an interim basis. Leyser is the sports ministry’s secretary for professional sport and has been overseeing Rio 2016 preparations within the ministry. Hilton had served as Sports Minister since 2014.