President Duterte of the Philippines has said American special forces based in Mindanao must leave, as they were potentially high value kidnapping targets, and their presence complicates the battle against Islamist groups in the region.

Recent related headlines from the Philippines –

From the Guardian

Rodrigo Duterte calls for US special forces to leave southern Philippines

Duterte said the Americans still in Mindanao were high-value targets for the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants as counter-insurgency operations intensified.

“They have to go,” Duterte said in a speech during an oath-taking ceremony for new officials. “I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go.

“Americans, they [the militants] will really kill them, they will try to kidnap them to get ransom.”

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