MARAWI, Philippines — American missionary Brian Lawrence, clutching a rifle in his mosquito-bitten arms, was released Friday by Muslim gunmen who held him for six days in the forest. Hours later, a military official said troops were ordered to move against the kidnapers.
Lawrence, 30, said his captors threatened to kill him if the military attempted a rescue operation.
But he said he was treated well and added, "From the beginning, I knew that their intention was to release me and not to harm me."
Maj. Gen. Jose Magno, head of the military's southern command, said in a statement released by his headquarters that he ordered unspecified "operations" against Lawrence's kidnapers and a separate group of Muslims who held 10 Filipino nuns for six days. The nuns were freed Thursday.
Magno's spokesman, Lt. Col. Anthony Elias, said a battalion of troops was sent to Marawi, 510 miles south of Manila, to back up one that arrived there Thursday with a tank and artillery.