Duterte's drug war: Powerful mayor killed along with nine others
Philippines police have adopted new tactics like 'Project Double Barrel Alpha' will focus on arresting drug users and reducing bloodshed. Photograph: (AFP)
A mayor in Philippines was killed along with his nine guards after they opened fire at a checkpoint in President Duterte's home province of Mindanao.
Samsudin Dimaukom, a powerful mayor of Datu Saudi Ampatuan was suspected to have drug links and according to the police, they tried to stop the two vehicles but the mayor's side fired at them.
Bernard Tayong of the North Cotabato police said "It was a legitimate police operation," and that no police personnel were injured in the firing.
"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 police recovered seven guns, including an Armalite rifle and 13 small packs of suspected methamphetamines from the vehicles.
The latest casualties come after the Philippines police changed their strategy by focusing on government officials, lawmakers, celebrities and other high-ranking police and army personnel who are involved in drugs.
The new tactic is called "Project Double Barrel Alpha" and according to Reuters, it aims to reduce killings and arrest more drug dealers.
More than 2000 people have been killed in Duterte's war on drugs since he took office on June 30.
National police spokesman Dionardo Carlos said that the overreach of drugs have gone beyond poor areas and now are present in wealthier neighbourhoods.
At least 150,000 policemen have been tested and 164 gave positive results and would be dismissed, he added.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)