At last report, two kidnapped American missionaries in the Philippines were believed to be alive and not seriously injured. But Martin Burnham, 41, and his wife, Gracia Burnham, 42, are suffering from malaria, according to a statement from their agency, New Tribes Mission (NTM), based on a report from a released captive.

Abu Sayyaf guerrillas captured the Burnhams and 18 others on May 27 at a resort off the island of Palawan.

Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim separatist group, initially said the Burnhams would be beheaded if its demands were not met. NTM says the captive who was released reported that Martin Burnham has a superficial back injury from a shrapnel wound. Second-hand reports indicate that the Burnhams are an encouragement to their fellow captives.

Robert Klamser, executive director of Crisis Consulting International in Ventura, California, told Christianity Today that there are on average one or two missionary kidnappings annually.

"Generally, we are seeing increasing danger to evangelical missionaries throughout the world," Klamser says. "Two major factors that contribute to the increasing danger are the destabilization and instability in many regions that followed the end of the two-Superpower era. … and the increasing missions push into areas dominated by other religious systems."



Related Elsewhere


New Tribes Mission Online has regular updates on the Burnhams.

Martin Burnham was allegedly injured during fighting between Abu Sayyaf and government forces. The rebels escaped and left bodies behind. An Abu Sayyaf spokesman said Burnham's injury was "nothing to worry about."

The Philippines president has ordered a fresh offensive on the kidnappers. Back home, charities rally to help Burnham children.

According to The BBC, Abu Sayyaf ...

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August 6, 2001

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