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No U.S. Involvement in Hostage Rescue from Philippine Terror Group

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathy Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 7, 2002 – Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said here today there was no U.S. involvement in the hostage rescue in the Philippines.

Myers confirmed that American hostage Martin Burnham, and Philippine hostage Deborah Yap were killed in the rescue attempt. The general said he had no details on those deaths.

Myers also said Burnham's wife, Gracia, was injured in the rescue, but that her injuries were not life-threatening. Mrs. Burnham was evacuated for medical treatment by a U.S. military helicopter, Myers said.

The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group had held the Burnhams and Yap as hostages for more than a year. Myers said this event probably would not have any impact on U.S. military involvement in the Philippines.

American Special Operations forces have been in the island country to "assist and help train the Philippine armed forces to fight the Abu Sayyaf group," Myers said. "That task is still in force."

Abu Sayyaf terrorists captured the Burnhans, both American missionaries, and Yap, a Filipino nurse, in the Philippines more than a year ago.

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