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Brazil police kill two suspects of massacre in violent Bahia state

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Police in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia killed two men suspected of involvement in the murder of nine people in the town of Mata de Sao Joao, while another suspect was arrested, the state security office said on Tuesday.

The charred remains of nine people were found on Monday inside two houses in Mata de Sao Joao. Three of the victims were children, said police, who are still investigating what sparked the massacre.

The grisly incident is the latest in a spate of drug gang violence that has engulfed the state of Bahia in recent years. Four of Brazil's five most violent cities are now located in the state, according to the Brazilian Public Security Yearbook. Many are located close to state capital Salvador.

The alleged perpetrators were located by security forces in a forested area of the city, where they were apparently hiding out, the security office said. A firefight broke out when police found them.

A fourth suspect is still at large, with efforts underway to locate him, the statement said. Two pistols, ammunition, radio communicators and drugs were seized from the suspects.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Editing by Alistair Bell)