By Noel T. Tarrazona
Special Asia Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ZAMBOANGA CITY, PHILIPPINES (ANS) - The Philippines military has theorized that the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf, which is holding American missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham of Kansas City, has opened its communication lines with officials of the White House in the United States to negotiate for the safe release of the Burnhams.
Col. Hermogenes Esperon, Commander of the 103rd Army Brigade has disclosed that his soldiers recovered direct telephone numbers of U.S. President George Bush written on a piece of paper shortly after the exchange of gunfire between the military troops and armed men of the Abu Sayyaf in Lantawan town, Basilan Province in the Philippines.
The soldiers also recovered a New Testament, chocolate bars, soda cans and high-powered weapons and ammunitions left by the Abu Sayyaf after the short gun battle encounter.
Earlier, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reiterated the government's no-ransom-policy for the release of the Abu Sayyaf's hostages.
Arroyo offered a P 100,000,000 money reward for those who could provide information leading to the arrest of Abu Sayyaf members.
Assist News Service. Used with Permission.