ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao examiner / July 12, 2011) – Philippine troops on Tuesday continue searching for a U.S. woman and her son and Filipino relative who were seized by gunmen in Zamboanga City in the restive region of Mindanao.
The Philippine Army also corrected its earlier report to the local press that the woman and her son are both German nationals. Officials now said they are U.S. citizens vacationing on Tictabon Island.
It said Gerfayeatts Lunsman, 50, was snatched along with her 14-year old son, Kevin Erik Lunsmann, and nephew Romnick Jackaria, 19, from their house on Tictabon Island at around 3 a.m. by gunmen who barged in their beach house.
But her U.S. passport shows her true name as Gerpa Yeatts Lunsmann and authorities said that the woman was originally from Basilan province who was adopted at age 9 by a U.S. family and is now married to an American citizen with German ancestry.
“We have intelligence reports that the hostages may have been taken to Zamboanga Sibugay province, but we are not discounting other reports that they could be in nearby Basilan,” Army Colonel Buenaventura Pascual, commander of a military anti-terror task force, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Pascual has tagged Waning Abdusalam, a commander of the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. “Military reports are pointing to Abdusalam as behind the abduction,” he said.
Other military sources also linked Abdusalam to the abduction and previous kidnappings for ransom in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner)