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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Indonesian president orders officers to shoot drug traffickers

Joko Widodo echoes internationally condemned approach taken by Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has asked law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers if they resist arrest. Beawiharta / Reuters
Indonesian president Joko Widodo has asked law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers if they resist arrest. Beawiharta / Reuters

Indonesia's president has followed his Philippine counterpart in telling law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers, saying the country faced a "narcotics emergency".

"Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now," Joko Widodo said at an event held by one of Indonesia's political parties late on Friday.

His remark has drawn comparisons with president Rodrigo Duterte, who launched a brutal anti-drug crackdown in the Philippines about a year ago that has seen thousands of alleged users and dealers killed and drawn condemnation from the international community, including the United Nations.

Indonesia also has tough laws against drugs. Mr Widodo has previously been criticised for ordering the executions of convicted drug traffickers who were given a death penalty by the court. Rights activists and some governments have called on Indonesia to abolish the death penalty.

Friday's shooting order from Mr Widodo came a week after Indonesian police shot dead a Taiwanese man in a town near the capital Jakarta.

The man, who was part of a group trying to smuggle one tonne of crystal methamphetamine into the country, was killed for resisting arrest, police said.

After the incident, the national police chief Tito Karnavian was quoted by media saying he had ordered officers not to hesitate shooting drug dealers who resist arrest.