Manila, Aug 16: At least 32 suspected drug dealers were killed in shootouts across one province in the Philippines in a bloody 24 hours for the country’s war on drugs, the police said.
Police officers arrested 107 people in a large scale operation carried out between Monday and Tuesday in Bulacan province, BBC reported on Wednesday. Police Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat said police conducted 66 simultaneous raids in the province. He said the Bulacan operations had so far yielded the largest number of casualties. “We have conducted several one-time, big time operations in the past but so far this is the highest number of killed perhaps during our operations,” he said.
Caramat said during the operations, the police seized several kg of illicit drugs of methamphetamine and marijua, and 34 firearms. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the police for killing 32 drug suspects “in a massive raid”. “That’s nice. If only we could kill 32 every day then maybe we can reduce the ... what ails this country,” Duterte said in a speech at the Malacang Presidential Palace, referring to the illicit drug mece facing the country. Thousands have been killed since Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs in 2016. Rights groups have accused Philippines police of planning extrajudicial killings and in some cases profiting from them. Police maintains that the suspects are killed when they offer armed resistance to police, a claim that has been highly disputed. Duterte suspended the campaign in January promising to “clean up” the police, and re-organise the anti-drug units. The campaign resumed in March. (IANS)