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At least 10 drug suspects killed in Brazil police raid

  • Story Highlights
  • Two schools, offices closed in three Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods during shootouts
  • At least 10 drug-trafficking suspects killed in confrontations with police, agency says
  • Woman also wounded, in critical condition
  • Rio has been plagued by violence; many deaths reportedly from drug-trafficking fights
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) -- Police have killed at least 10 drug-trafficking suspects in all-day shootouts in Brazil that closed schools and government offices in three Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods, the official news agency said.

The confrontations started Wednesday morning when civil police entered the neighborhoods in search of suspects, the state-run Agencia Brasil said. In the afternoon, when civil police were leaving, military police moved in and the shootouts started anew.

A woman was wounded and in critical condition, the news agency said, citing the state's health minister.

Two schools were closed, and 6,600 students were sent home.

Rio de Janeiro police chief Gilberto Ribeiro vowed that the operations will continue but conceded that trafficking will pick back up after the raids end.

"You can't get discouraged, but you can't deny that the state is barely drying it up," the news agency quoted him as saying. "They need work and are looking for solutions. People get discouraged and join these criminal gangs. All this is happening in a context that police are not going to resolve."

Rio has been plagued by a wave of violence that led to protests in December by a group called Rio de Paz. The group said 9,000 people have been slain and secretly buried since January 2007.

Many of the deaths come from drug traffickers fighting for territory in Rio's slums and poor neighborhoods, said the group's president, Antonio Carlos Costa. Others are killed by hit squads and police acting on their own.

"In general, they are assassinated by police -- police acting outside of their regular work hours," Costa said at the time. "They are also assassinated by narco-traffickers. The bodies are disposed of in secret cemeteries in the metropolitan Rio de Janeiro area or incinerated alive by narco-traffickers in what they call 'microwaves.' "

The term refers to pits and ditches where bodies are burned.

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