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Days after abusing Obama, Philippines president asks US troops to exit country

Duterte's announcement further intensifies the war of words between Philippines and the US. Photograph: (Getty)

Davao City, Philippines Sep 12, 2016, 03.57 PM (IST)

American troops, who are stationed in southern Philippines to train home soldiers to fight extremists in the region, have been asked to leave the country by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The announcement puts further strain on US-Philippines relations, a week after Duterte called his US counterpart Barack Obama a "son of a whore".

Duterte, who hails from the south, has intensified efforts to bring peace in the region which has been wracked by decades-long fighting with Islamist extremists and communist rebels.

The 71-year-old president reasoned that presence of American troops on their soil was complicating matters in his bid to evolve a consensus between various warring factions in the region.

"The (Muslim) people will become more agitated. If they see an American, they will really kill him," he said.

Colonial rulers till 1946, there were images circulated by the incumbent government about how US troops killed Muslims during their occupation of the country in the early 20th century.

Duterte said such images had the potential to inflame tensions in the area.

He, however, didn't mention any timeframe for US troops' ouster.

US troops are in the island nation not to have direct combat missions with extremists but to provide training to soldiers of the Philippines.

In August, the premier resumed talks with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest separatist group in the country, to restore normalcy in the area. 

The president also took on Obama for meddling into his war on drugs.

"This Obama, when you accuse me of killing... let he who is without sin, cast the first stone," he said.

The campaign against drugs in the country has been bloody as it has claimed about 3,000 lives over a period of two months. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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