Philippine Police kill two mistaking them for gunmen

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Officers were called to the scene of a shooting

Philippine police have killed two people who were rushing to hospital, mistaking them for gunmen on the run.

The officers were called to the scene of a shooting, but opened fire on a van which was carrying a wounded woman, a victim of the shooting, to hospital.

She and another passenger later died while two more were wounded.

It comes amid increased scrutiny of a police force already facing accusations of extra-judicial killings in President Duterte's war on drugs.

According to Philippine media, the ten policemen involved in the shooting, as well as the local chief of police, have been relieved of their duties.

Police had been called to the Mandaluyong suburb of Manila after a shooting during an argument between local residents.

The van they encountered was taking a woman injured in that shooting to the hospital, police said.

"Our police thought these were among the people that opened fire earlier," Senior Superintendent Moises Villaceran said according to the AFP news agency.

Thousands have died in the country's anti-drug campaign since it was launched by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

Rights groups say Mr Duterte has sanctioned extrajudicial killings by vigilantes and by police. However, police say those killed were all drug dealers who became violent towards them.