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Six Dead in the Philippines as Duterte Continues Crackdown on Drugs

Jennelyn Olaires, 26, weeps over the body of her partner, who was killed on a street by a vigilante group, according to police, in a spate of drug related killings in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 23, 2016.

Philippine authorities said police killed six armed bodyguards loyal to a town mayor alleged to be involved in the sale of illegal drugs.

Earlier this week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to have Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. “shot on sight” for protecting his son, a suspected drug dealer. Espinosa surrendered himself to national police on Tuesday, though his son, Erwin, a suspected drug lord, did not.

Local police said a gun fight broke out between the body guards and police who were out on patrol early Wednesday morning near Espinosa’s house.

According to regional police chief Elmer Beltejar, the bodyguards fired upon police first, and the police returned fire, killing six of them. Police also seized at least 17 firearms found inside the compound.

Duterte ran for president on the promise that, if elected, he would eliminate the drug dealers and violence that has plagued the country. Since he won the election in May, police claim to have killed more than 400 suspected drug dealers.