'We could not condone their actions.'
On Thursday, Weblog reported that Paul Burnham, father of kidnapped missionary Martin Burnham, told Radio Mindanao that his family had made a deal with the group holding his son and daughter-in-law but the captors reneged.
Burnham did not elaborate on the details of the deal; nor has anyone been able to confirm that it was the $300,000 that Washington insiders say was paid to the Abu Sayyaf in March. Just hours after the news broke, Oreta Burnham told Christianity Today that "We did not pay the ransom." Since then, both parents have remained tight-lipped about the deal. But others have not.
Yesterday, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo scolded the Burhams for their negotiations with the kidnappers. "I'm sorry that (Martin and Gracia) are still there... But we already told them not to negotiate because these bandits cannot really be trusted," Mrs. Arroyo said in a weekly radio address. "They were negotiating without the government's consent. Now they are complaining that the Abu Sayyaf have no word of honor."
New Tribes Mission has also commented on the Burnhams' apparent deal-making. An update on the NTM Web site yesterday said that members of the mission's crisis team called the Burnhams on Thursday after Paul's radio announcement.
"NTM wanted the families to know that we love them and care for them in spite of their choice to act independently of the mission," the site's report reads. "We could not condone their actions but we did not want this to breach our relationship with them. We affirmed that grace must be extended both ways."
On Sunday Abu Sabaya, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf, called the same radio station as Paul Burnham. The station broadcast the interview yesterday. ...1
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