Indonesia's anti-narcotics chief has threatened to shoot dead drug offenders in the country following in the footsteps of neighbouring Philippines.

Commander General Budi Waseso, the head of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), said: "Don't hesitate to shoot drug traffickers, drug dealers and drug users. Anyone involved in drug trafficking should be punished harshly, including traitors in the BNN body," according to the regional media outlet Kompas.com.

He made the statement at a meeting called to address the drug menace in North Sumatra. The presence and circulation of drugs especially in North Sumatra have seen a rapid rise almost every year and the trade traditionally increases during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

"Drug dealers have been all out in their efforts to market drugs. We have to be all out as well to fight them," said Budi, adding that the agency is already cooperating with the military to tackle drug-related crimes.

"For the military, I think the word war can already be interpreted. Let's together clear these drugs for the sake of future generation," added Budi. North Sumatra's governor Tengku Erry Nuradi, who was present at the meeting, called for more public involvement in combating the menace.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has made tackling illicit narcotic trade one of his top priorities after he took charge in 2014. The country already has some of the toughest anti-drug laws to punish violators.

"Every year 15,000 Indonesian youth die because of drugs. How many drug dealers and traffickers die every year?" asked the Indonesian leader on Tuesday, 20 December after torching about a tonne of seized drugs in Jakarta. "When I see this evidence, it becomes clear we once again have to declare a war on drugs."