Video of Burnhams is old, says New Tribes Mission
Good news: a video of Martin and Gracia Burnham made by their Muslim captors shows the American missionaries looking healthy. Bad news: No one believes the claim it was made in mid-January—it was probably made taped months ago. "They don't look as worn out as the last time we saw them," says Oreta Burnham, Martin's mother. "I don't see how their health could improve since then." In fact, as the tape makes no mention of the global war on terrorism, it was probably made even before September 11.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Philippine military has a pretty good idea of where the Burnhams and their captors are. More serious action could happen "in the next few days," says Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan. "We have a good idea of the general location of the Burnhams. We're now awaiting the results of our latest initiatives."

Reuters reports that the Burnhams have already been spotted. "They were in good condition, under the circumstances, when they were seen last week by my informants," says Mayor Sakib Salajin of Maluso.

Maluso made news earlier this week by taking a rather questionable approach to freeing the Burnhams: kidnapping. Eight relatives of Abu Sayyaf rebels were taken captive as bargaining chips. "Our target now is we want to rescue the hostages," says Salajin. "If we don't get them now, they will just grow stronger." Oreta Burnham isn't pleased. "We don't feel like this was the right way to go," she told the Associated Press. "In fact, we're a little worried, at this point, that this could be a hindrance to Martin and Gracia's release." New Tribes Mission spokesman Scott Ross agrees. "I'm not sure it's worth doing something that's wrong in itself to correct another situation," he said.

New Tribes Mission has designated Tuesday, March 12, as a special day of prayer for the hostages. Missionaries around the world will gather in special prayer services.

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