Clashes between police and gangs in Brazil’s eastern regions have killed at least 11 people and injured two officers, reports say.

The violence took place in the state of Rio Grande do Norte and in one of the favelas in the country’s second largest city of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Rede Globo TV network reported on Sunday.

In the state’s northeastern city of Currais Novos, seven suspected bank robbers were killed in a shootout with police. The robbers opened gunfire after they were stopped by officers. The police forces returned fire, killing all the suspects. Police also detained an eighth man who said he was a taxi driver abducted by the gang.

Police reportedly found guns and explosives in the robbers’ vehicles.

Four suspected drug dealers were shot dead by police in the Rio slum of Mangueira, as military police were conducting a special operation in the district.

The Rio State health authority said the clashes left two police officers injured. The injured police were reportedly in stable condition.

According to police, officers retrieved a cache of guns and grenades as well as more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition during the special operation.

Brazilian police have been conducting operations in Rio’s favelas, which are notorious for crime and poverty, since authorities launched a pacification program in 2008. The program was initiated to drive out armed gangs ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the Olympic Games that the city will host in 2016.


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