CBCP expresses sadness over death of Abu Sayyaf hostages, urge greater support for campaign vs terrorists
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expressed sadness over the tragic deaths of two hostages during an encounter
between military forces and their Abu Sayyaf kidnappers in Zamboanga del Sur last June 7. American hostage Martin Burham and Filipino nurse Ediborah Yap were killed during the afternoon rescue operation operation.
The other American hostage, Gracia Burham, was wounded during the firefight but had recovered over the weekend and returned to the United States.
The CBCP also called on a more intensified campaign to go after the
hostage-takers and bring them to justice, and greater support for military troops in the fight against terrorists.
The three hostages had been held by the Abu Sayyaf Group for over a year. The American couple
was kidnapped while vacationing at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan in late May 2001, while Yap was taken hostage a few days later during the siege in Lamitan, Basilan by the same group.
The full text of the
statement, issued by CBCP President Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I. last June 7 reads:
"We express sadness at the news of the death of the hostages Martin Burnham and Ediborah Yap and many others during an encounter today between military troops and the Abu Sayyaf Group.
"We ask our people
to pray for the eternal repose of those who died in the encounter, especially the innocent hostages Burnham and Yap, and for the full recovery of all those wounded, including the other American hostage Gracia
"Even as we await the full details of the incident, we realize how this tragedy has brought to light the pressing need for a more intensified campaign to pursue criminals and to bring them to justice, and
the need for greater support for the military forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism and criminality in behalf of our country and our people."