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Philippines’ Duterte vows to eat militants – Crime war claiming 44 lives a day: Police

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

VIENTIANE: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to personally tear apart and eat Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants, in a bloodthirsty vow of revenge for deadly attacks. “They will pay. When the time comes, I will eat you in front of people,” Duterte told an audience of Filipinos late on Monday night while in Laos for a regional summit. “If you make me mad, in all honesty, I will eat you alive, raw.” Duterte often hurls abusive insults at critics and is waging a brutal war on crime in which nearly 3,000 people have been killed since he took office on June 30.

His aides often urge reporters against taking Duterte’s comments literally, cautioning that the 71-year-old former lawyer speaks in a crude language of the people. During the election campaign earlier this year Duterte attracted widespread criticism for saying he had wanted to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who had been sexually assaulted and murdered in a Philippine prison riot. Duterte, 71, also claimed to keep two mistresses in cheap boarding houses who he took to short-stay hotels for sexual encounters.

Duterte on Monday offered a particularly vivid description of how he would like to eat Abu Sayyaf militants, who killed 15 soldiers last month and are accused of a bombing in his home city last week that claimed 14 lives. “I will really carve your torso open. Give me vinegar and salt and I will eat you. I’m not kidding,” Duterte said, according to an official video of his speech posted yesterday. “These guys are beyond redemption.” The Abu Sayyaf is a small band of Islamic militants based on remote southern islands of the mainly Catholic Philippines and are listed by the United States as a terrorist organization. They are notorious for kidnapping foreigners to extract ransoms, and this year beheaded two Canadian hostages.

International condemnation
Meanwhile, an average of 44 people are being killed each day in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on crime, according to police data released yesterday that showed the death toll surging to nearly 3,000. The new figures came after Duterte vowed on Monday to defy a wave of international condemnation and continue killing until every drug trafficker in the Philippines was dead. “More people will be killed, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets,” said Duterte, who scored a landslide election victory in May largely on his promise to fight crime.

“Until the (last) drug manufacturer is killed, we will continue and I will continue.” Police have killed 1,033 people in anti-drug operations since Duterte was sworn into office just over two months ago, according to the national police update yesterday. Another 1,894 people have died in unexplained deaths, police said, which rights groups believe are largely due to out-of-control security forces and hired assassins. The total of 2,927 is more than 500 higher than the figure released by police on Sunday, and equates to an average of 44 a day since Duterte took office on June 30.

US President Barack Obama was planning to raise concerns about the war on crime with Duterte at a meeting in Laos yesterday afternoon. But Obama cancelled the meeting after Duterte warned he would not be lectured to, and branded the US president a “son of a whore”. Philippine police insist they are killing only in self defense. “They have guns, they are drug-crazed. Our policemen are just defending themselves,” national police spokesman Dionardo Carlos said.- Agencies

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