Peru votes unanimously to allow military to shoot down cocaine-smuggling planes

The nation is reportedly the world's top producer of the drug

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Peru is going to start shooting down suspected airplanes suspected of smuggling drugs.

The country’s Congress passed the legislation on Thursday and President Ollanta Humala is expected to sign the bill into law.

Peru is the world’s top cocaine producer, according to the U.S. State Department, which estimates small planes moved up to 180 tonnes of cocaine from Peru in the first 10 months of 2014.

Police say the planes are used to smuggle more than a ton of cocaine into Bolivia each day.

Neighbouring drug-producing and transit nations, including Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia already permit planes suspected of carrying drugs to be shot down. However such events have been rare in recent years and tend to follow strict guidelines.

The BBC has reported that the US expressed opposition to restoring “aerial interdiction”.

Peru halted the tactic in 2001, when an American missionary and her infant daughter were killed after a plane was incorrectly identified as carrying drugs.

The plane was shot down by the Peruvian Air Force in a joint operation with the CIA.

While the US sponsors anti-drugs programmes across South America, it has opposed attacks on suspected drug planes since the incident.

Peruvian coca growers have previously criticised the government for providing insufficient compensation after a record-breaking eradication campaign that is said to have affected roughly half a million Peruvians.