Indonesian leader: Shoot drug traffickers who resist arrest

FILE - In this March 8, 2017 file photo, Indonesian President Joko Widodo waits for the arrival of his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. President Jokowi says police should shoot drug traffickers who resist arrest because of a narcotics crisis facing the country. Jokowi’s spokesman, Johan Budi, said Sunday, July 23, 2017, that the president made the comments at a recent meeting of an Indonesian political party. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo says police should shoot drug traffickers who resist arrest because of a narcotics crisis facing the country.

Presidential spokesman Johan Budi said Sunday that Jokowi made the comments at a recent meeting of an Indonesian political party.

"We have to take firm action. If drug dealers who operate in Indonesia fight back when arrested, officers can shoot them, because we are in a narcotics emergency position now," Jokowi said, according to his spokesman.

Local media reported last week that police shot dead a Taiwanese man for resisting arrest during a seizure of 1 ton of crystal methamphetamine, Indonesia's largest-ever seizure of the drug.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched an anti-drug crusade last year in which thousands of alleged drug dealers and users have been killed, often in circumstances akin to lawless summary executions. The crackdown has been condemned by rights groups and governments around the world.

Indonesia has tough anti-drug laws and traffickers can receive the death penalty. Four people, one Indonesian and three Nigerians, were executed by firing squad last year, and dozens are on death row for trafficking.

Budi said Jokowi's comment is not a shoot to kill order and police actions should be measured and in accordance with the law.

It's a message to all Indonesians to show the commitment of the government to fighting narcotics, he said.

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