Conflict & Justice

Philippines radical Islamists free kidnapped U.S. woman


Police in the Philippines display two U.S. passports of Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann and her son, Kevin, on July 12, 2011. Gunmen abducted two the U.S. citizens and their Filipino relative holidaying at a tiny southern Philippine island, police said. Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 50, her son, Kevin, 14, and her Filipino nephew, Romnick Jakaria, 19, were snatched by more than a dozen gunmen who raided the island by boat before dawn.



An American woman was freed by Islamic radicals in the Philippines, though her son and a nephew remain in the rebels' custody, according the Philippines Daily Inquirer.

Gerfa Yeatts-Lunsmann, 41, was freed into FBI custody after three months with hardline Islamic Abu Sayyaf rebels. Her 14-year-old son and a young nephew were not.

Lunsmann is a veterinarian living in Virginia who was born in the southern Philippines but adopted as a child by Americans, according to the Associated Press. She, her son and her nephew were kidnapped by armed men while vacationing in the Philippines.

Her kidnappers are a violent, al-Qaeda-linked menace: the Abu Sayyaf rebels, who proclaim hardline Islamic ideology while carrying out classic gang tactics such as kidnappings and extortion. 

Just last week, the group attempted to raid a Philippines' Marine Corps post but fared quite poorly: 13 rebels died in a firefight while only two marines were killed. After the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. forces deployed troops in the region to train and equip Filipino troops fighting Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militant groups.

American soldiers, however, are forbidden from engaging in combat.