MARAWI, Philippines — Kidnaped American missionary Brian Lawrence, in a letter to his wife released today, warned against any military rescue attempt, saying, "If the military tries to get me, I will be killed."
Lawrence, who was abducted from his apartment in Marawi on Saturday night and taken to the interior of Lanao del Sur province, said he was being kept in a straw hut where he could see "plenty of young rebels with arms and ammunition. . . . The fellows like to clean and work on their guns."
There was no date on the hand-written letter, but Col. Francisco Cruz, head of an army battalion based in Marawi, said it was received by the military two days ago.
The letter was made public the same day as 10 kidnaped Filipino nuns were freed unharmed by their Muslim captors. (Story on Page 5.) The Roman Catholic nuns were abducted from a convent near Marawi and had been held for six days.
Wife Hid in Closet
Lawrence was believed kidnaped by another group of Muslims. His wife, Carol Ann, escaped capture by hiding in a cabinet. Military officials said she had left Marawi to stay with relatives in the nearby city of Iligan.
Despite the letter, Maj. Gen. Jose Magno today moved a battalion of 400 men, backed by armored vehicles, a tank and artillery, into the area where Lawrence was believed held. "This is to bring pressure to bear on the kidnapers," Magno said.
Military authorities said Lawrence, 30, a Presbyterian evangelist from Madison, Wis., was kidnaped by members of a private armed force called the "Barracudas," previously linked to Muslim leader Ali Dimaporo, a staunch ally of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The military said the kidnapers were led by Dimaporo's nephew, Ismael Dimaporo, who was chief security officer of Marawi's Mindanao State University until he was dismissed from his post when President Corazon Aquino's government took office in the February revolt that ousted Marcos.
Lawrence, in a previous taped message, said he was instructed by his kidnapers to say they wanted independence for the Muslims of the southern Mindanao region.