Duterte orders US advisers out of southern Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte ratcheted up his feud with the United States Monday, ordering all American special forces out of the southern Philippines. (File Photo: Reuters)

President Rodrigo Duterte ratcheted up his feud with the United States Monday, ordering all American special forces out of the southern Philippines where they have been advising local troops battling Muslim extremists.

Duterte’s order came a week after he called US President Barack Obama “a son of a whore”, causing Obama to cancel their scheduled bilateral meeting at a summit in Laos. The Filipino leader, the first to hail from the south and who claims Muslim ancestry, has been stepping up efforts to bring peace to the southern Philippines, where decades-long insurgencies with Muslim and communist rebels have claimed more than 150,000 lives.

Last month he restarted peace talks with the largest separatist group, the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which like others has been fighting since the 1970s for an independent Islamic state or autonomous rule.

Duterte did not specify when or how many Americans would be expelled but said the Philippines alignment with the West was at the root of the persistent Muslim insurgency. “These US special forces, they have to go in Mindanao,” he told a gathering of government employees. “The (Muslim) people will become more agitated. If they see an American, they will really kill him.”

“This Obama, when you accuse me of killing… let he who is without sin, cast the first stone,” he said. In a brief encounter in Laos, Obama urged the Filipino leader to conduct his crime war “the right way” and protect human rights, but Duterte has dismissed it as being none of America’s business.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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