Duterte: I’ll kill more people to win drugs war

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The controversial leader says he is calling in the military to help fight what he describes as a threat to national security.

Thousands of deaths have already been attributed to Mr Duterte’s crackdown on the illicit trade, which started seven months ago after he became president.

He has ruled out declaring martial law, but said he no longer trusted law enforcement agencies to get the job done.

The police have arrested more than 40,000 suspects in President Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign, leaving the country’s prisons massively overcrowded.


Video:Philippines drugs war fills prisons with suspects

He promised “a cleansing, a purge” and admitted he had underestimated the scale of the problem when he set his initial target of six months to win his war.

“You bleed for those son of a b****. How many? 3,000? I will kill more if only to get rid of drugs and this campaign,” he told a news conference.

Mr Duterte has previously admitted killing people during his 22 years as mayor of Davao City, in the south of the country.

He claimed to have toured the city’s streets on his motorcycle looking for drug dealers to shoot.

Duterte has taken a hardline approach to cracking down on drug crimes
Image Caption:Drugs seized by police in the Philippines

On Monday Mr Duterte suspended all police operations in the drug crackdown amid allegations of deep-rooted corruption.

He placed an anti-drugs agency in charge of the campaign and said he wants the armed forces to help.

Mr Duterte has not been specific about the military’s role in the campaign and did not indicate now many troops will be involved.

Around 7,600 people have died since the drugs crackdown began last summer, with police saying more than 2,500 died in shootouts during raids and sting operations.

The cause of the other deaths is disputed. Police blame turf wars and vigilantes while activists allege widespread summary executions and police collusion with hitmen.

Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York, said involving the military was the wrong move because the armed forces had a track record of extrajudicial killings.

“Using military personnel for civilian policing anywhere heightens the risk of unnecessary or excessive force and inappropriate military tactics,” it said.

“But there is also a deeply rooted culture of impunity for military abuses in the Philippines.”

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