Seven killed in clashes between police, drug dealers in Brazil

15:36, 22 October 2009
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Seven people were killed in clashes between drug dealers and police here on Wednesday, local authorities said, according to Xinhua.

This raised the death toll to 33, another incident in a series of conflicts that have been haunting the city since last weekend.

    According to the police, two of the deaths on Wednesday occurred in the city`s Morro Santo Amaro shanty town, one in the Morro dos Prazeres shanty town, and a fourth in the Mangueirinha shanty town. Earlier in the day, three other men were killed in the Morro do Juramento shanty town.

    Two men were arrested during the day, including a drug dealer who reportedly headed the drug business in the Jacarezinho shanty town.

    The conflicts started in the early hours of Saturday when criminals from two rival gangs fought against each other.

 Since then, there have been several shootouts in different parts of the city, especially in the northern region. A police helicopter was taken down, killing three officers, and at least a dozen vehicles were burned.

    So far, the police have seized 250 kg of marijuana and several weapons.

    The ongoing conflicts have forced many shanty town inhabitants to flee their homes, while some schools and one college decided to suspend classes.

    According to the authorities, the police operations in the slums would continue.

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