Nine killed in North Cotabato drug raid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — Nine people were killed in anti-drug operations in a town in North Cotabato Friday night.

Government troops conducted a raid around 11 p.m. at Sitio Biao, Barangay Kilada in Matalam town, implementing a search warrant against seven drug suspects.

Police said the suspects and their two companions, who tried to rescue them, engaged in a heavy firefight which lasted an hour and resulted in their death.

Two other suspects arrested were Intan Aban, 59, and Kolaga Aban Kassan, 43.

Authorities said they seized firearms and sachets of alleged shabu from the suspects.

Maintaining a drug den is a violation of Section 6 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which punishes with life imprisonment.

The raid was under the Philippine National Police's Project Double Barrel Reloaded, which former chief Ronald dela Rosa vowed to be "less bloody." The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency took over the task of leading the drug war amid alleged police abuses.

Over 4,000 drug suspects were killed since President Rodrigo Duterte launched the drug war in July 2016, according to government data.