Philippine mayor among 10 killed in shootout as drug war enters new phase
A mayor on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s wanted list for alleged drugs links was killed along with nine of his guards in a shootout on Friday, police said, as a new phase of a bloody narcotics crackdown zeroed-in on high profile targets.world Updated: Oct 28, 2016 12:02 IST
A mayor on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s wanted list for alleged drugs links was killed along with nine of his guards in a shootout on Friday, police said, as a new phase of a bloody narcotics crackdown zeroed-in on high profile targets.
The 10 men succumbed to their wounds en route to hospital, police said, having opened fire on officers who tried to stop their two vehicles at a checkpoint in Duterte’s troubled home province of Mindanao before dawn.
“It was a legitimate police operation,” said Bernard Tayong of the North Cotabato police office, adding that no officers were hurt but a police vehicle was riddled with bullets.
“We have information the mayor and his men were transporting drugs so we tried to intercept them but they chose to shoot it out,” he told reporters.
The killing of Samsudin Dimaukom, a powerful mayor, took place far from his predominantly Muslim town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan.
It came as police shift tactics in the controversial war on drugs by focusing on politicians, government officials, celebrities and high-ranking army and police suspected of involvement in the trade.
The new plan, called “Project Double Barrel Alpha”, was reported exclusively by Reuters on Monday and aims to increase arrests and reduce the bloodshed in a campaign that has claimed more than 2,300 lives since Duterte took office on June 30.
Duterte won a May election on the promises of killing criminals and campaigned under the logo of a clenched fist.
Duterte returned from a visit to Japan late on Thursday and during a news conference waved a thick book he said contained names of officials suspected of drug links. The book contains about 3,000 names.
“I do not want to make this public because it will just make the Filipino cry,” he said.
Of those killed in the anti-drugs campaign, more than 1,600 died during police operations, a toll that has drawn international concern about extrajudicial killings.
First Published: Oct 28, 2016 12:02 IST