Nine killed in Philippine fight against drug trade

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Police and anti-drug gunmen have conducted a new operation against illegal drug trade in the Philippines, leaving nine people dead.

Regional police spokesman Superintendent Romeo Galgo told reporters that eight “drug personalities,” including a woman, were killed on Saturday in a pre-dawn raid in the town of Matalam, located about 900 kilometers (600 miles) south of Manila.

Another person was detained on suspicion of drug offences during Saturday’s raid, Galgo said, noting that four grenades and three pistols were found on the dead suspects.

Meanwhile, police said they found a yet to be identified dead man in the capital, Manila, late Friday. He was believed to be a suspected drug dealer. The man’s face was covered with packing tape and a placard reading “I’m a pusher.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte won the election in May on a platform of crushing crime.

More than 100 suspects have been killed since Duterte launched his campaign against drug dealers and other criminals following his election.

Civil rights campaigners, however, have criticized police operations amid concerns that some of the dead suspects could have been summarily executed by the lawmen.

Earlier this week, Duerte named three of the country’s topmost drug lords and accused retired police official Marcelo Garbo of protecting drug traffickers.

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