Sunday, November 13, 2011

Filipino Relative of Kidnapped US Youngster Escapes from Abu Sayyaf

Romnick Jakaria, 19, the Filipino relative of a kidnapped American boy, 14, escaped from captivity on Sunday (November 13) from al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants, who have held them for four months in a southern Philippine jungle. Jakaria escaped when a special Filipino armed forces team managed to get near an Abu Sayyaf safe-house near a mountainous Basilan province.

COMMENT: Jakaria and his Filipino-American aunt, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, and her 14-year-old American son were kidnapped on July 12 while they were vacationing with relatives on an island near southern Zamboanga. Abu Sayyaf militants last month freed Lunsmann, a Virginia-based US-naturalized veterinarian whose son remains in captivity.

Although both the US and Philippine governments have said that no ransom was paid by them for Lunsmann's release, it is possible that an intermediary did.

The Abu Sayyaf, which is estimated to have about 380 fighters, still holds an Indian, a Malaysian and a Japanese convert to Islam, along with a number of Filipino hostages.

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