Duterte receives sniper, assault rifles from China

Reuters

Posted at Jun 29 2017 09:07 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte checks the scope of a 7.62mm sniper rifle during the turnover ceremony of China's urgent military assistance given "gratis" to the Philippines, at Clark Air Base, near Angeles City. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte received sniper and assault rifles donated by the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday which he says will be used to fight militants in the southern region of Mindanao.

Duterte thanked the Chinese government for donating more than 3,000 rifles to the Philippine military.

He said the move was "the dawn of a new era of Philippine-Chinese relations."

The firebrand leader has been courting U.S. rivals China and Russia since former American President Barack Obama criticized his war on drugs that has claimed more than 9,000 lives since July 2016.

Some 71 security forces and 299 militants have been killed and 246,000 people displaced in an ongoing conflict with Islamist rebels in the southern city of Marawi, which erupted after a failed attempt in May to arrest a Filipino militant commander backed by Islamic State's leadership.