Two US tourists abducted in Philippines: police

Gunmen abducted two US citizens and their Filipino relative holidaying at a tiny southern Philippine island on Tuesday, 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, said local police chief Nonito Asdai.

"They made the bodyguards lie on the ground while they took the victims," Asdai said, showing to reporters the US passports of two of the victims that were recovered from the small resort on Tictabon island off Zamboanga.

Soldiers and armed police in armoured personnel carriers guard the busy district of Zamboanga in the southern Philippines. Gunmen abducted two US citizens and their Filipino relative holidaying at a tiny southern Philippine island close to the city, police have said

The woman was born on Tictabon but was adopted by a US couple in her childhood, Asdai said, adding she owned the resort and had been back visiting for nearly two weeks.

The boy is her child by her German husband who is based in the US state of Virginia, according to Asdai.

The husband was not known to be in the Philippines during the abduction, he added.

Asdai said the authorities were checking eyewitness reports the gunmen left with their captives for Basilan island, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf Islamist militants about 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the south.

The acting US embassy spokesman in Manila, Alan Holst, was unavailable for comment, a member of his staff told AFP.

The Abu Sayyaf, made up of several hundred loosely organised bands, has been blamed for kidnapping foreigners and Christian missionaries as well as for the country's deadliest bombing attacks.

AFP

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