ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 12, 2011) – Gunmen have abducted a vacationing German woman, her son and a Filipino nephew at dawn Tuesday in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, officials said.
The woman, Gerfayeatts Lunsman, 50, was seized along with her 14-year old son, Kevin Erik Lunsmann, and nephew Romnick Jackaria, 19, from their house on Tictabon Island.
“The woman and her son were only vacationing on the island. We have deployed troops to track down the victims,” Army Colonel Buenaventura Pascual, commander of an anti-terror task force in Zamboanga, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
“The woman, who is married to a German national, lives in Virginia in the United States with her son Kevin, and arrived in Zamboanga City only two weeks ago to visit her Filipino family,” he added.
Pascual said they learned about the woman’s nationality through her passport and her Filipino family. He said at least 12 gunmen barged in the house of the woman’s Filipino family at around 3:00 a.m. and seized the trio and escaped on several outriggers.
Police said the abduction was only reported by village officials at 5:30 a.m. “This abduction happened at 3 in the morning and the villager leaders reported the matter at around 5:30 a.m. and we still don’t know who were behind the abduction,” Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, the local police chief, said by phone.
But other sources tagged Juaning Abdusalam, a rebel leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as behind the latest abductions and that the hostages have been brought to Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Abdusalam was also linked to the kidnapping of a Filipino nurse Mary Cuartocruz in December last year in the village of Manicahan in Zamboanga City. She was freed two months later in the town of Alicia in Zamboanga Sibugay after her family paid huge ransom.
The MILF said it has no report about the abduction involving members of the rebel group, but would investigate it. “We will get in touch with out leaders in the area and find out more about this report. The MILF will not tolerate this. This is against Islam and against our policy,” Von Al Haq, the group’s spokesman, said in a separate interview.
Sources said the rebels are also targeting several prominent businessmen in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner)