- U.S. State Dept official says rape victim was female U.S. citizen
- A foreign tourist is kidnapped, raped and robbed on a minibus in Rio de Janeiro, police say
- A male passenger on the minibus also is held captive and robbed, police say
- The incident highlights security concerns in Rio before upcoming high-profile events
A female foreign tourist was kidnapped, raped and robbed on a minibus in Rio de Janeiro, police said, highlighting security concerns in the Brazilian city that will host matches in the 2014 World Cup and will put on the Summer Olympics two years later.
A male foreign tourist on the minibus was also held captive and robbed, according to Rio police.
Police said they would not release the identities or nationalities of the victims, but the U.S. Embassy said Monday that one of the two is an American citizen, and a U.S. State Department official on Monday said the woman raped was a U.S. citizen.
The U.S. Consulate is in contact with the victim and is providing all appropriate consular assistance, said the State Department official, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to talk about the case.
In general, consular assistance includes ensuring access to medical care, working closely with law enforcement authorities, assisting in understanding the local criminal justice process, and following any criminal proceedings very closely, the official said. The consulate also communicates with family members in the United States, and helps provide U.S.-based resources for the victim when possible, the official said.
The two boarded the minibus in the Copacabana beach district in Rio de Janeiro early Saturday. Three men subsequently boarded the minibus and forced all the other passengers off, police said.
The woman was raped, and the two passengers' credit cards were used at multiple locations inside and outside of Rio de Janeiro over a span of hours, the police said in a statement.
According to Brazilian newspapers, the man was handcuffed and beaten, while the woman was repeatedly raped. The two were dumped in Itaborai, a city more than 30 miles (about 50 kilometers) away, after six hours, O Globo newspaper said.
According to Rio police, two men have been arrested -- Jonathan Foudakis de Souza, 20, and Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva, 22. They are searching for a third man in relation to the crime.
They said a Brazilian woman who was raped a week earlier has also identified the suspects.
Rio de Janeiro has launched a citywide offensive against crime, particularly drug-fueled violence in the shantytowns.
Police, backed by army troops, have stormed the slums, hoping to seize control from gangs and help secure the city before many high-profile events begin this year.
Pope Francis' first big international trip will be to Rio in July when he is expected to lead millions of young people in celebration of World Youth Day.
Rio has gone a long way toward cleaning up its image as one of Latin America's most violent cities.
But Brazilian media already are drawing parallels between this attack and the infamous gang rape of a young woman on a bus in India.