Hostage: Captors Negotiated for Ransom

Detailed bargaining on ransoms began just hours after Abu Sayyaf extremists staged a mass kidnapping, contrary to the guerrillas’ claim they were only trying to advance Muslim causes, a former American hostage says in a new book.

Gracia Burnham said a senior member of Abu Sayyaf, identified only as Solaiman, took down the hostages’ names and occupations — and their possible ransom amounts — even as the group was still on a boat speeding away from a trendy resort where the abduction took place. Burnham, of Wichita, Kan., was rescued by soldiers on June 7 after 377 days in captivity. Her husband, Martin, and Filipino nurse Ediborah Yap died in the same operation. Burnham’s book, “In the Presence of My Enemies,” has sparked calls for an investigation in the Philippines because of her account of “wheeling and dealing” between the Abu Sayyaf and an unidentified general who allegedly wanted a cut of any ransom. Full Story

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