Accra, Nov. 5, (dpa/GNA) – The number of suspects killed in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs has reached nearly 8,000 in the past four years, police said Thursday.
In September and October alone, 119 suspects were killed in over 9,000 police operations, according national police chief Camilo Cascolan in a report on his first 60 days in office.
The figures bring the total deaths since 2016 up to 7,987, while more than 1.29 million illegal drug pushers and addicts have surrendered.
Police launched a total of 234,036 buy-and-bust undercover narcotics operations and raids from July 2016 to October this year, resulting in the arrest of 357,069 suspects, the report said.
Cascolan said the anti-drug operations should be enhanced.
Human rights groups have criticized the drug war for alleged abuses and the high death toll, which they estimated could actually be triple the official number due to unrecorded killings by vigilantes or hired killers.
Last month, Duterte said that he takes responsibility for the killings under the campaign on illegal drugs and said he would gladly go to jail for the deaths.
« You can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war, » Duterte said in a televised address on October 19.
« If you get killed it’s because I’m enraged by drugs, » he added. « If that’s what I’m saying, bring me to court to be imprisoned. Fine, I have no problem. If I serve my country by going to jail, gladly. »