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Philippines drug war deaths climb to 1,800

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The Philippines has recorded about 1,800 drug-related killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took office seven weeks ago and launched a war on narcotics, far higher than previously believed, according to police figures.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told a Senate committee on Monday that 712 drug traffickers and users had been killed in police operations since July 1.

Police were also investigating 1,067 other drug-related killings, Dela Rosa said, without giving details. The comments came a day after Duterte lashed out at the United Nations for criticizing the wave of deaths.

The United States, a close ally of the Philippines, expressed concern “about reports regarding extrajudicial killings of individuals suspected to have been involved in drug crimes” and urged Duterte’s government to ensure that law-enforcement authorities abide by human rights norms.

As recently as Sunday, the number of suspected drug traffickers killed in Duterte’s war on drugs had been put at about 900 by Philippine officials. But this number included people who died since Duterte won the May 9 presidential election. – READ MORE

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