We all remember the Mumbai massacre of 2008. Now, we read how 10 gunmen on the run from the authorities in Rio de Janiero very quickly took 30 hostages in a hotel. Read the story and think how easy the situation could have turned into a Mumba-style massacre. Then, think of how easy it would be for anyone almost any place in the world, to perpetrate a Mumbai-style attack. You want to be armed when you travel but we are all disarmed if we fly to our destination. Disarmed with no guarantee of safety or protection. Who would trust another with their own physical safety anyway?
This video is in Spanish but you can hear some gunshots
Gunmen seize hostages in Rio de Janeiro hotel
Ten heavily armed gang members on the run from police swept into the beachside InterContinental hotel yesterday morning, taking 35 people hostage and triggering a three-hour siege that ended with 10 arrests, one death and four policemen wounded.
"There must have been over 1,000 shots," said Paul Ayscough, 48, a British businessman who was staying in the hotel. "It was a huge number of shots – automatic fire, pistol fire, everything."
The violence began early yesterday, when up to 60 members of a gang involved in drug trafficking attempted to return to their base in Rio's largest slum, Rocinha, after an all-night party in a nearby favela, Vidigal. A convoy of about eight vehicles was intercepted by police.
The 40-minute gun battle that followed was of proportions rarely seen outside the conflict-ridden favelas. Video footage, taken by a local resident, showed half a dozen armed gang members taking cover behind a rubbish truck and firing automatic weapons in an up-market neighbourhood.
"It was as if the shooting was happening inside our house," the Brazilian sociologist Luiz Eduardo Soares, who lives in the area, told O Globo. "The walls were shaking and we realized we were at the centre of the shoot-out."
Writing on his Twitter account, Soares said: "Am I in Afghanistan?" No I've become a war reporter in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro."