Philippines: kidnapped missionary killed


 An American missionary was killed on Friday, during a rescue attempt by the Philippine army. Evangelical missionary Martin Burnham, together with a nurse, Ediborah Yap, died during the failed operation. Burnham's wife Grace was wounded and is now in hospital. The Christian missionary couple were kidnapped by Muslim separatist guerrillas, the Abu Sayyaf group, in the southern Philippines on 27 May last year. They had been celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at a resort when they were snatched. Dozens of people were captured with them and in a series of raids that followed. Some have been killed, but most were released for ransom. In a video taken in November, Martin said he and Grace shared a hammock but "each night I am chained to a tree by my left wrist". "Every time I hear a twig snap, I think it's a gunshot," Grace said. Both looked in poor health. There were reports earlier this month that Martin was suffering from malaria. Hundreds of troops, backed by American technology, were involved in the attack on Friday. President Gloria Arroyo said: "our soldiers tried their best to hold their fire for their (the hostages') safety. I salute our troops for their forbearance. "The terrorists shall not be allowed to get away with this. We shall not stop until the Abu Sayyaf is finished. The battle shall go on, wherever it takes." Doug Burnham, brother of the missionary, said he was "grateful to everyone who has made an effort to try and rescue them". "I know that every effort was made to rescue them safely, it's just unfortunate it ended this way."

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