Sunday, July 17, 2011

Search continues for kidnapped US woman, 2 others in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 17, 2011) – Philippine security forces continue to search for a kidnapped US woman and her son and Filipino nephew in Mindanao, officials said Sunday.

Officials said the search is concentrated in the Zamboanga Peninsula where Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 42, and her son Kevin Eric, 14, and Filipino nephew Romnick Jakaria, 19, were believed to have been taken by their captors.

Police said the kidnappers contacted the woman’s family to demand ransom for the release of the hostages, but officials would not say how much the captors were demanding.

Local media have reported that the kidnappers demanded $10 million ransoms, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

Army officials have tagged Waning Abdusalam, a rogue leader of the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front as behind the kidnappings. Abdusalam was also being linked to past kidnappings for ransom in Zamboanga City and nearby provinces.

Gerfa was visiting her Filipino parents in Tictabon Island in Zamboanga City when gunmen stormed their beach house on July 12 and seized them. (Mindanao Examiner)

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