Shoot drug traffickers, Widodo tells law enforcement

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo believes his country faces a 'narcotics emergency'. Photo: Reuters/Darren Whiteside

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has instructed law-enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers to deal with a “narcotics emergency” he believes is facing the country.

“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,” Widodo said in a speech at an event held by one of Indonesia’s political parties late on Friday.

His remarks have drawn comparison to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who launched a brutal anti-drug crackdown about a year ago that saw many alleged drug dealers killed.

The bloody campaign in the Philippines has drawn condemnation from the United Nations among others.

Indonesia also has tough laws against drugs. Widodo has previously been criticized for ordering executions against 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 Widodo came a week after Indonesian police shot dead a Taiwanese man in a town near Jakarta.

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

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

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