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Nation

2 kidnapped US citizens being held in Basilan

- Roel Pareño -

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Two US citizens, who were seized last July 12 along with a male relative on an island off this city, are being held captive in the mountains of Basilan, senior military official said yesterday.

Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, cited intelligence information that Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 42, and her son, Kevin Eric, 14, are being held by a kidnapping syndicate with links to the Abu Sayyaf.

It was not immediately known if Lunsmann’s relative Romnick Jakaria is a captive of the same group.

Coballes, however, begged not to reveal the exact location of the kidnappers, saying efforts to recover the victims were ongoing. 

The Lunsmanns, who reside in the US state of Viriginia, were on a vacation here when they were seized along with Jakaria on Tigtabon Island by 14 armed men onboard two pumpboats. 

The kidnappers contacted the Lunsmanns’ family in the US three days after the incident and demanded, reports said, $10-million ransom.

According to a security source, the group is also holding captive a nine-year-old boy snatched in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay last March 16. It initially demanded P25-million ransom for the boy but later reduced it to P10 million and sent a video clip as proof of life to the boy’s family.

ABU SAYYAF

BASILAN

COBALLES

GERFA YEATTS LUNSMANN

INFANTRY DIVISION

KEVIN ERIC

LUNSMANNS

NOEL COBALLES

ROMNICK JAKARIA

TIGTABON ISLAND

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY

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