Peru permits military to down drug trafficking planes

Peru`s Congress unanimously has approved a bill reauthorizing its air force to shoot down planes linked to drug trafficking.

AFP| Updated: Aug 21, 2015, 15:35 PM IST

Lima: Peru`s Congress unanimously has approved a bill reauthorizing its air force to shoot down planes linked to drug trafficking.

The measure, which was passed late on Thursday, allows the air force to shoot down planes if there is "evidence or reasonable suspicion" of a craft being used for drug trafficking.

Lima previously had such a measure in place but suspended it in 2001 after one of its jets mistakenly downed a plane with American missionaries aboard, killing two people.

The bill must still be signed into law by President Ollanta Humala - something considered certain given the popularity of the issue.

According to the author of the bill, there are between 600 and 1,000 illegal drug flights in Peru per year, most of which come from Bolivia.

Peru recently began operating a radar system in the southeast to detect illegal flights. 

The area covered includes the largest coca-growing region in Peru where the military is battling drug gangs and remnants of the Maoist Shining Path.

Peru is considered by the United Nations as one of the largest cocaine producers in the world.