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Police Kill 8 in Drug Raid on Rio Slum

May 10, 2003

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ A Brazilian police SWAT team killed eight men in a shootout Friday as they raided a shantytown looking for drug traffickers, officials said.

Backed by helicopters, the police searched the shantytown in Rio de Janeiro’s Catumbi district looking for gang members accused of shooting a 19-year-old woman at a nearby campus Monday, police said.

The woman was shot in the neck and underwent surgery Friday.

Police on Friday were met with gunfire and shot back, killing eight people, including two known drug traffickers, the police statement said.

Clashes between Rio police and drug gangs have intensified in recent months. The gangs have burned buses, fired on police posts and attacked shopping malls, supermarkets and tourist hotels.

Rio de Janeiro state security chief Anthony Garotinho said earlier this week that crime in the city was ``out of control.″

The federal government has agreed to create an elite police force to crack down on drug gang violence and pledged $14 million to better equip Rio police.

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