New Tribes Mission (NTM) is dismissing media reports that Muslim terrorists have moved American hostages Martin and Gracia Burnham from a jungle camp to a house in the southern Philippines.
New Tribes said in a late January statement that the Philippine military is saying all indications are that the Burnhams are still being held captive in the jungles of Basilan Island. NTMs sources concur with the Philippine military information. The missionary couple has been held on Basilan Island, 560 miles south of Manila, since May 27 (see Families of Kidnaped Burnhams Wait, p. 26).
Meanwhile, Gracia Burnhams sister said in a radio broadcast that relatives have no money for ransom. In an appeal to the Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, Mary Jones said, Harming Martin and Gracia will not solve anything and will only deprive their children, and our family, of the people we love. Local officials say Abu Sayyaf rebels are demanding $1 million each for the Burnhams and about $2,000 for a local nurse.
The Jones appeal was broadcast a couple of days before 660 U.S. troops, including 160 Special Forces soldiers, began military exercises in the southern Philippines (CT, Feb. 4, p. 24). During the Balikatan (shouldering the load together) exercises, Philippines leaders seek to improve the militarys ability to shut down Abu Sayyaf permanently. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the Philippine military have met with politicians who have constitutional objections to the U.S. troops presence. But Philippine Press Undersecretary Bobby Capco says the U.S. troops are in the country under a mutual defense agreement. Filipinos have protested the U.S. military presence. The Philippine government has not said if a rescue will be attempted.
The noose is closing in, Capco says. We cannot predict when they will be freed—no one can predict such a thing, he says. It might happen tomorrow.
Copyright © 2002 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Also appearing on our site today:
Families of Hostage Couple WaitMens prayer group for Burnhams perseveres six days a week.
New Tribes Mission Online has regular updates on the Burnhams.
For further developments on the Burnhams, see Christianity Today'sWeblog, The Wichita Eagle, Yahoo's full coverage and ABS-CBN News.
Christianity Todays coverage of the Burnham kidnapping includes:
Missionary Couple Remains in LimboThe apparently poor condition of the Burnhams has given the case a new urgency. (Jan. 17, 2002)
Kidnapped Missionaries Reported SafeBut danger increasing for Burnhams—and for workers around the world. (June 26, 2001)
New Tribes Missionaries KidnappedMuslim rebels in Philippines threaten to kill Martin and Gracia Burnham and 18 others if military intervenes. (May 29, 2001)
According to The BBC, Abu Sayyaf ("Sword of God") has made an industry of kidnapping.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
More from this Issue
Read These Next
- TrendingEvangelicals Are the Most Beloved US Faith Group Among EvangelicalsAnd among the worst-rated by everybody else.
- From the MagazineWhy Does Creation Groan?Scripture and science suggest that animal suffering fits into a divine artistic story.
- RelatedWhat Evangelicals Owe HaitiTo understand the island nation’s crisis and what the church must do now, start with what we didn’t do.español
- Editor's PickDante Bowe Navigates Worship in the SpotlightAfter leaving Maverick City Music, the singer is launching his own label focused on authenticity in a field increasingly crowded by celebrity.