Philippines’ Duterte says no ‘justice’ for families of drugs war casualties

More than 4,200 suspected drug dealers have been killed by police in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign since June 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Philippines’ Duterte says no ‘justice’ for families of drugs war casualties

MANILA: Outspoken Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday the families of people killed in his controversial war on drugs will not receive “justice,” rejecting calls from rights groups seeking redress for the thousands of deaths.
More than 4,200 suspected drug dealers have been killed by police in Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign since June 2016, as well as several thousand more by unknown gunmen who authorities have described as vigilantes, or rival gang members.
Rights groups and critics of the campaign say some of the killings were summary executions.
Police deny the allegations, saying they had to use deadly force because the suspects were armed and had resisted arrest. They also deny activist allegations that they have falsified reports, staged crime scenes and systematically murdered small-time peddlers and users.
“If you think that you can get justice simply because you lost somebody who’s a bullshit into drugs, I’m sorry to tell you I will not allow it,” Duterte said in a speech on Monday.
He also reiterated that he would not allow the police and the military to go to jail for killing drug users and pushers.
“If you are shot and I know you are a drug lord, I will run over you five times,” said Duterte, who won the presidency in May 2016 on a platform of fighting corruption, crime and drugs.
Duterte has stopped police anti-drugs operations twice due to questions over the conduct of the force, including the killing of a teenager in a supposed anti-drug operation in 2017.
The 73-year old leader’s popularity had not diminished, according to opinion polls, despite drawing international criticism for his bloody war on drugs and human rights record.


South Korea dismantles guard posts with dynamite, excavators

Updated 15 November 2018
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South Korea dismantles guard posts with dynamite, excavators

  • Last week the two Koreas finished withdrawing troops and firearms from some of the guard posts along their border before dismantling them
  • The Koreas each agreed to dismantle or disarm 11 of their guard posts by the end of this month

CHEORWON, South Korea: South Korea exploded a front-line guard post Thursday, sending plumes of thick, black smoke into the sky above the border with North Korea, in the most dramatic scene to date in the rivals’ efforts to reduce animosities that sparked last year’s fears of war.
Last week the two Koreas finished withdrawing troops and firearms from some of the guard posts along their border before dismantling them. The steps are part of agreements signed in September during a meeting between their leaders in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
On Thursday, South Korea’s military invited a group of journalists to watch the destruction of a guard post with dynamite in the central border area of Cheorwon. The journalists were asked to stay hundreds of meters (yards) away as black smoke enveloped the hilly border area. They later watched soldiers and other workers bulldoze another guard post.
While most of the South Korean guard posts are being destroyed with construction equipment for environmental and safety reasons, dynamite was used for the first structure because of its location on a high hill where it was difficult employ excavators, the Defense Ministry said.
North Korea is demolishing its guard posts with explosives, according to South Korean media.
The guard posts are inside the 248-kilometer (155-mile)-long, 4-kilometer (2.5-mile)-wide border called the Demilitarized Zone. Unlike its name, it’s the world’s most heavily fortified border with an estimated 2 million land mines planted in and near the zone. The area has been the site of violence and bloodshed since the 1945 division of the Korean Peninsula, and civilians need special government approval to enter the zone.
The Koreas each agreed to dismantle or disarm 11 of their guard posts by the end of this month before jointly verifying the destruction next month. South Korea had about 60 posts inside the DMZ guarded by layers of barbed wire and manned by troops with machine guns. North Korea was estimated to have 160 such front-line posts.
Under the September agreements, the Koreas are also disarming the shared border village of Panmunjom and clearing mines from another DMZ area where they plan their first-ever joint searches for Korean War dead. They’ve also halted live-fire exercises along the border.
The deals are among a set of steps they have taken since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reached out to Seoul and Washington early this year with a vague commitment to nuclear disarmament. The fast-improving inter-Korean ties have raised worries among many in South Korea and the United States as global diplomacy on the North’s nuclear weapons program has produced little recent progress.