Two Americans Kidnapped in Southern Philippines

Posted July 12th, 2011 at 5:25 am (UTC-5)
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Authorities say three people have been kidnapped in the troubled southern Philippines, including a naturalized American citizen and her teenaged son.

Edwin de Ocampo, the police superintendent of the southern port city of Zamboanga, says the three were seized when more than a dozen armed men in two motorized boats raided a beach house early Tuesday.

The three victims have been identified as Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, her 14-year-old son Kevin and her 19-year-old nephew, a Philippine native. Gerfa Lunsmann is from Virginia, where she lives with her son and husband, a German national. The mother and son had been visiting relatives in the Philippines over the past two weeks.

The southern Philippines is home to a number of Muslim rebel groups, including the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf, which is holding several kidnapping victims and has been implicated in dozens of deadly terrorist attacks. It is also home to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been fighting for a separate Islamic homeland in the southern Philippines.