Fil-Am’s nephew escapes from captors

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2011 12:28 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2011 01:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines – A man who was abducted with his Filipino-American aunt and cousin escaped from his captors in Basilan on Saturday, the military said.

Romnick Jakaria, who was abducted with US citizens Gerfa Lunsmann and Kevin Eric Lunsmann, allegedly got away from his captors at around 10 a.m. in the outskirts of Sumisip town, according to Col. Ramon Yogyog, commander of the Special Operations Task Force Basilan.

Yogyog said Jakaria, 19, was able to free himself while the military was conducting pursuit operations against members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

Jakaria was then turned over by a certain Corporal Lazo and Barangay councilman Ariel Lapeng from the Army detachment in Barangay Tubigan, Maluso town to another Army detachment in Barangay Abong-Abong.

"The kidnap victim said he ran away when the captors distanced themselves when Special Forces and Rangers were near the enemy lair in Sumisip. He went and surrendered himself to the Special Forces detachment where he was assisted and now undergoing normal debriefing," Yogyog said.

Jakaria and the Lunsmanns were abducted while on a vacation in Tictabon Island last July 12 by suspected members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front – Special Operations Group (MILF-SOG), led by Waning Abdulsalam. They were then turned over to members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

Gerfa, 42, was released by her captors last October 2 in Maluso town. Her son Kevin Eric, 14, meanwhile, remains in captivity.

The military said it is still verifying claims that Jakaria had a role in the abduction of the two US citizens.

"We are still evaluating the statement of the Fil-Ams and his relatives if he is involved [in the abduction]," said Yogyog. – with a report from Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga