And now news from the jihad in the Philippines........
Philippine Muslim militants free kidnapped US teen after 5 months of jungle captivity Washington Post
MANILA, Philippines — A 14-year-old American boy who was abducted with his mother and cousin by suspected Muslim militants in the southern Philippines was released from five months of jungle captivity, the Philippine military said.
The boy, Kevin Lunsmann, was recovered late Saturday by a village official in Lamitan town on southern Basilan Island, a stronghold of al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels who are believed to be behind the kidnapping, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang.
He is now safe in military custody, Cabangbang said, without offering other details.
U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas said the boy would be reunited with his family soon.
“In this holiday season nothing makes me happier than knowing that an innocent victim is returned to his family in time for holiday celebrations,” Thomas said in a statement Sunday.
“I also want to acknowledge the courage of Kevin himself, and his family, throughout this long ordeal,” Thomas said.
He said there would be a “speedy investigation and prosecution of all those involved in the kidnapping of American citizens.”
The boy’s Filipino-American mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, was freed two months ago after she was dropped off by boat at a wharf on Basilan. Their Filipino cousin, Romnick Jakaria, dashed to freedom last month when special Philippine army forces managed to get near an Abu Sayyaf camp in the mountains of Basilan.
They were believed to be held for ransom, but Cabangbang did not say whether any was paid.
The three were vacationing with relatives on an island near Zamboanga city when they were snatched July 12 and taken by boat to nearby Basilan. The captors then called the family in Campbell County, Virginia, to demand a ransom.