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News Conference on Killing of U.S. Hostage

Aired June 7, 2002 - 08:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to keep our eye now on Sanford, Florida. A spokesperson for the Burnham family, Scott Ross, is now talking with reporters.

SCOTT ROSS, NEW TIMES MISSIONARY: All of the family members have been contact by the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines and also President Arroyo. They both called Paul and Rita (ph) Burnham, Betty Joe (ph) and Norman Jones (ph) and Betty Jones (ph), and different family members, and have talked to them and expressed their condolences, and we want to express our appreciation to them for that as well.

Are there any questions?

QUESTION: Do we know exactly what happened during the raid?

ROSS: We don't know. It's unclear whether it was just a happening, that they walked up on them, or if it was some other type of military engagement. We're still trying to ferret that information out. We understand that there were fatalities on the part of the ASG, as well as the Philippine military.

QUESTION: Were you aware that some kind of operation was about to happen?

ROSS: We were unaware at all that there were any military operations. In the last week, we had heard some rumors that Martin and Gracia had been moved off a bus inland, up into the Zambonga area, but those were unconfirmed to us.

We always felt that military action was a very big concern for us, and it needed to be done with the right intelligence and the right group, and so we felt that should be a last resort, but...

QUESTION: What's the mood like inside?

ROSS: Yes, we just had a staff meeting with all the missionaries here at headquarters. They're all saddened for the loss of Martin, very excited and encouraged that Gracia has survived, and are praying for the three children.

QUESTION: Do you have more details about Gracia's condition?

ROSS: We don't have very many details at all. We're in contact with the Philippines regularly now, and hope to get some updates on that.

QUESTION: Was she there...

HEMMER: All right, Scott Ross, a spokesperson for the Burnham family, a tragic incident taking place earlier today in the Philippines. A raid after the two Americans had been held captive for about a year's time killed Martin Burnham. Gracia Burnham did survive, his wife. She was wounded in the leg, fully anticipated to make a complete recovery, and in the next hour here, we're going to talk with Scott a little more about what happened in that raid in the Philippines.

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