3 men sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping 2 Americans, guide in 2011
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Three men were convicted of kidnapping and were meted life imprisonment in connection with the 2011 abduction of American Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann; her son, Kevin; and Lunsmann’s cousin, Romnick Jakaria.
In a 35-page decision issued on Wednesday, Regional Trial Court 15 Judge Peter Eisma also ruled that Patik Samson, also known as Mauck or Samuray; Meijing Jama, alias Eyebag, Imran, Abu Napieh and Termiji Atalad Ahmad; and Jamil Ajijul, alias Gadzie Ajijul and Robin, were not eligible for parole.
The three men were the only arrested suspects in the kidnapping of the Lunsmanns – who hailed from Virginia – and Jakaria from Tictabon Island here in 2011.
Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, the city police director, said Casimiro said that at least 29 other suspects remained at large.
Casimiro said the police were grateful to the Lunsmanns for pursuing the case, which led to the conviction of the three accused.
“The participation of victims and witnesses are vital in the success of the case,” he said.
Casimiro pointed out that Mrs. Lunsmann made sure she attended every hearing.
Gerfa was a native of Zamboanga, who was adopted by an American couple.
She was vacationing on Tictabon Island with her son when they were abducted by armed men. Jakaria, who was serving as their local guide, was also taken.
Jakaria, then 19, later escaped while Mrs. Lunnsman was freed in November 2011, after reportedly paying ransom. Her son, Kevin, also escaped in December of that year.
Kevin, who was then 14, later told officials he fled barefoot while his captors were sleeping and survived for two days on coconuts.
He was found by villagers hiding in bushes near Lamitan in Basilan and was immediately turned over to authorities.
Kevin was later handed over to US troops stationed here and was flown to Manila, where he met then US Ambassador Harry Thomas.
The Abu Sayyaf had originally demanded P50 million for the release of the Lunsmanns and Jakaria. SFM
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