Former missionary returns to the Philippines
Former New Tribes missionary Gracia Burnham, who was held hostage with her husband for more than a year by Islamic militants in the southern Philippines, is returning to the country to testify against some of her former kidnappers.
"She has expressed her willingness to help the government pin down those responsible," a Philippine Department of Justice official told The Inquirer. The paper says that among those on trial is Abu Sayyaf member Alhamzer Manatad Limbong, nicknamed "Bro" and "Kosovo," who is mentioned in Burnham's book, In the Presence of My Enemies. (She's currently working on a second book about dealing with tribulation.)
Burnham, whose husband died in a rescue attempt, described Limbong as a "classic warrior type; big, muscular, well-built, proud of his long, wavy hair." He was with the couple from their abduction at the Dos Palmas resort in late May 2001 to late September 2001.
Several leaders of the group that abducted the Burnhams are missing and presumed dead, but Jainal Antel Sali Jr., nicknamed Solaiman, is still at large. And the Associated Press reports that he broadcast a message for Burnham on Radio Mindanao Network Tuesday. "Welcome back," he said. "Nothing personal about what happened to her and her husband Martin. Gracia, you only lost Martin, but for us, we lost our homeland almost everything we have in this world." Other former hostages have testified against members of the Abu Sayyaf before, he added, but "we are still here."
One of the reasons that they're still there is because of the way the Philippine government deals with terrorists. The Burnham story has many parallels with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's decision to withdraw its ...