updated 2/5/2009 6:34:28 AM ET 2009-02-05T11:34:28

Brazilian police killed at least 10 suspects — including two teenage boys — during operations against drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro early Wednesday.

The suspects, all males, included boys ages 15 and 16, Silvana Caminiti, a spokeswoman for Rio de Janeiro state's Health and Civil Defense ministry, confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The rest were in their early 20s, except for one 37-year-old man.

Brazil's O Globo newspaper, citing police and health officials, reported on its Web site that police had killed 12 suspects.

Most of Rio's slums are not regularly policed. When authorities enter a slum, violent shootouts with heavily armed drug gangs often occur, with death tolls difficult to determine by either authorities or slum dwellers.

300 officers took part in raid
Police inspector Rodrigo Oliveira told O Globo that 300 police took part in the early-morning raids.

The action comes a day after hundreds of police occupied a slum in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, after a night of shootouts and car burnings. The violence was sparked by the alleged police killing of a suspect.

Police said three officers were shot in the Sao Paulo violence and local residents reported at least two civilians were injured.

Last year a United Nations report noted that police kill an average of three people a day in Rio de Janeiro alone.

More on Brazil   |  Drug trafficking

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