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Two US tourists were abducted in Philippines


As reported by the local chief police Nonito Asdai, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 50 yrs, her son Kevin, 14 yrs, and her Filipino nephew Romnick Jakaria, 19 yrs of age were snatched by more than a dozen gunmen who attacked the island by boat before dawn. He stated that "They made the bodyguards lie on the ground while they took the victims," while showing to the reporters the US passports of the two victims that were recovered from the resort on Tictabon Island, Zamboanga.

The woman owned the resort and had been back visiting for nearly two weeks. She was born on Tictabon but was adopted by a US couple in her childhood, Asdai said. The boy is her child, who is based in the US state of Virginia, according to Asdai.

The husband was not known to be in the Philippines during the abduction, he added.

Asdai said the authorities were checking eyewitness reports saying the gunmen left with their captives for Basilan island, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf Islamist militants about 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the south.

A spokesman for Philippine President Benigno Aquino said a special crisis committee had been activated to deal with the kidnapping, adding that the police and military were doing their best to recover the hostages.

Spokesman Edwin Lacierda also said that that so far, there had been no ransom demands nor could they confirm if the Abu Sayyaf group was involved. He reaffirmed the government’s policy against paying ransom for hostages.

The acting US embassy spokesman in Manila, Alan Holst, was unavailable for comment, a member of his staff told AFP.

Abu Sayyaf, made up of several hundred loosely organised bands, has been blamed for kidnapping foreigners and Christian missionaries as well as for the country’s deadliest bombing attacks.