U.S. embassy in Manila demands immediate release of kidnapped Americans

10:01, July 16, 2011      

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The U.S. government on Friday denounced the kidnapping of two American citizens in a residential resort in south Philippine's Zamboanga, and called for their immediate release.

Acting embassy spokesman Alan Holst said the United States also wants those behind the abduction who are believed to be members of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) prosecuted.

"The U.S. condemns kidnappings of any kind, and we call for the immediate release of the victims and prosecution of those responsible," Holst said in a statement on Friday.

Holst said the U.S. embassy in Manila continues to work with Philippine authorities on the matter and that they have been in contact with the families to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the victims.

Holst did not say if the families of hostages or the embassy received a ransom demand.

On Monday, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, a naturalized U.S. citizen who hails from Basilan province of the Philippines, his son Kevin Eric, and Filipino relative Romnick Jackaria were kidnapped by 14 armed men at their residence in Sacol island off Zamboanga City at around 3 a.m. The Lunsmanns are from Virginia and were on vacation with relatives in the island.

Military reports said the hostages had been brought to Basilan province, a stronghold of the ASG responsible for the country's worst terror attacks and kidnapping and beheading of foreigners, including Americans.

Source: Xinhua
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