Six presumed drug traffickers died Wednesday in a shootout with Brazilian police in the city of Niteroi in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, authorities said.

The gun battle broke out after nightfall when the alleged drug gang members were approached by a police vehicle and opened fire, whereupon the officers inside an armored car fired back in self-defense.

During the ensuing shootout, six people were killed and one other was arrested, all of them presumably involved in drug trafficking and as yet unidentified, according to the Rio Civil Police.

Police sources said that the same group could be responsible for an attack Wednesday morning on one of the police stations in Niteroi in which a grenade was tossed into the building but did not explode.

The deaths of the supposed drug traffickers comes after nine alleged bank robbers died in several shootouts with police in the town of Itamonte, in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, last Saturday. EFE