COMMENT: Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants snatched Lunsmann, her son and another relative on July 12 while they were vacationing with Lunsmann's family on an island near southern Zamboanga city. In a July 17 cellphone call to the captives' relatives in Virginia that was traced, the hostage-takers demanded a huge ransom. It is very rare for Abu Sayyaf to release foreign captives without the payment of a substantial ransom.
U.S.-backed offensives have weakened the group, which is blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist organization, but it remains a key security threat. Hundreds of US troops are stationed in the southern Philippines to train and equip Philippine forces but are prohibited from engaging in military operations.
Dr. Lunsmann was born to a Muslim family near Zamboanga. She was adopted by an American couple as a child and grew up in the US. She has visited her home province a number of times. In the future, though, she very likely will bring her family to Luzon for visits.
We'll keep our readers abreast of this case re: the status/condition of Dr. Lunsmann's son and nephew.