Tuesday, July 19, 2011
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 19, 2011) – Filipino and American friends of a kidnapped US woman and her son held a vigil on Monday in Campbell County in Virginia and prayed for their immediate and safe release, WSET-TV reported Monday.
Filipino gunmen kidnapped Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann and son Kevin Eric and a relative Romnick Jakaria on July 12 while vacationing in Zamboanga City in Mindanao Island.
Local officials said the gang has contacted the woman’s husband in Virginia and demanded ransoms for their safe release.
“Since last Tuesday we haven't known whether they were living or dead so that was a wonderful answer to a prayer,” WSET-TV quoted vigil organizer Teresa Henderson as saying.
It said Gerfa’s friends and family took time Monday to honor the kidnapped Campbell County woman and son.
“You hear about those things happening all over the world, but when it happens here at home it takes on a whole different persona,” Henderson said.
He husband, Stuart Henderson, said: “Being a Christian, I'm still angry, because this shouldn't happen.”
But the Henderson couple channeled that anger to good and this vigil. “I just felt like I needed to do something. I didn't want to sit by and not do anything,” Teresa told WSET-TV.
And the first thing they'll do when they meet again. “I just want to wrap my arms around her and give her a big hug, and let her know that we still love her, been loving her and pray for her safe return,” she said.
“I'd probably be moved to tears. I know I would. I don't know what I'd say,” said Stuart.
WSET-TV which quoted friends of Gerfa said she would save up her vacation time every year and use it to visit her mother in the Philippines. The trip was supposed to be a family reunion.
Gerfa was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when she was nine years old after an American family adopted her.
Local authorities have tagged a rogue rebel commander Waning Abdusalam as behind the kidnapping and that the hostages were likely brought to the hinterlands in Zamboanga Sibugay province. (Mindanao Examiner)