Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte holds up a photo — and cites accounts of U.S. troops who killed Muslims during the U.S. occupation of the Philippines in the early-1900 — during a speech in Manila on Sept. 12, 2016.(Photo: Ted Aljibe, AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. forces advising the Philippine military against an Islamic insurgency are doing more harm than good and must leave, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.

Duterte, who made international headlines last week by crudely insulting President Obama, said white Westerners are an inviting target for kidnap-for-ransom groups such as the militant Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines. Duterte blamed his government’s ties to the West — and a grisly U.S. military operation that targeted Muslims more than 100 years ago — for fueling much of the unrest centered in the Mindanao island group.

”I do not want a rift with America, but they have to go,” Duterte, who is from the Mindanao region, said during a speech in Manila. “Americans, they (insurgents) will really kill them.”

Duterte said he had planned to raise the issue last week when he and Obama attended the ASEAN Summit in Laos but did not do so “out of respect.” He provided no timeline for a U.S. exit.

In Washington, the White House said it had not received a formal request to remove U.S. military personnel, spokesman Josh Earnest said. He added that Duterte had a tendency to make “colorful comments,” the Associated Press reported… see more

source: usatoday