American Kidnapping In The Philippines

You’ve got to be kidding me! I can’t believe what I’m reading. Then again, this poor woman probably had been told by many, “I’ve gone there many times without a problem.” She was probably told that a kidnapping in the Philippines is rare.

Kidnapping In The PhilippinesThe reports around the web are horrible, they don’t give the exact location.  The best I’ve been able to find out so far is that they were staying at a relatives home located on a small Island near Zamboanga.

Worse, the compound for the home normally has armed guards because there is Abu Sayyaf in the area. A group known to target American’s. When it comes to this group, the statistics showing that usually locals are kidnapped can be tossed out the window.

It doesn’t sound like she was actually in the Sulu region itself though. It’s hard to tell from the reports I have seen. If she was, that is even more foolish. If you’re American, don’t go there! The last I heard is that the Philippine authorities would not allow foreigners to go there.

UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments as I will be updating them as more accurate information comes out on this kidnapping in the Philippines

It appears that 12 to 14 armed gunmen stormed the beach front home that Gerfa Lunsmann was staying in. They took her, her 14 year old son and a 19 year old nephew.  Ms. Lunsmann was born in Germany and adopted by an American couple so she wouldn’t have been mistaken for Filipino.  That is what causes me to wonder if she actually made it into the Sulu region.  However, I don’t know how authorities could monitor everyone going there. Since she had contact there, she may have made the trip in a small private boat.

However she got there, it was foolish. Heck, I’m not going near the area. Palawan is way to close to the Sulu area for my liking. Even that popular tourist destination warrants some concern. There have been kidnapping there as well and there is an infamous one where a resort was stormed by kidnap for ransom gangs.

Abu Sayyaf Behind Kidnapping In The Philippines?

Abu Sayyaf does have ties with Al-Qaeda, these ties are often down played but from my reading the ties are much stronger than what some wish for us to know. There have been reports that Al-Qaeda is using kidnapping for ransom as way to raise revenue in recent months and looking to increase that. Abu Sayyaf doesn’t like you if you’re an American and if you’re rich they like you even less other than as a way to line their pockets.

It should be said that so far, it is not known which group took kidnapped these American’s. There are other groups here but most of them do not attack civilians.

Though I’m angry that this person went there I do not wish her harm. I wish her all the best and hope for her safe return. I’m not even angry with her, I’ve made too many bad choices in my life to be angry at anyone for a mistake. Wow, what fun it would be to say for a couple of weeks on a remote island beach house in the Philippines. Tempting it would be indeed. I can even see how I could have made the same foolish mistake. This serves as a strong reminder not to go to remote areas in the Southern Philippines.

Yes, I know, many of you have done it and didn’t have a problem. I won’t be one of them. I would go to Eastern Mindanao, I even plan to as soon as fund permit.  I have an invitation to visit a Civet farm where the famous Civet coffee undergoes processing. I do not intend to let this opportunity get past me. But it will be a few months before I can make the trip.  Hey Bob, I’m coming to see you. It is near Davao and I will be traveling with Filipino when I make the trip. I sure hope nothing prevents me from making it. Would I go wandering around that area without local to guide me? No I would not.

Is it Safe To Live In The Philippines?

I’ve said many times that I feel that living in the Philippines is far safer than living in the USA. There are areas in Memphis that I would never go into. There are areas in Memphis that I feel are more dangerous than the Sulu region and if I had to pick a slum in Memphis or the Sulu region, I would pick Sulu. Well, it might come down to a choice of dying fast or dying slow. Might be slower in Sulu, kidnapping would not be a pleasant experience, the danger in Memphis would be a 45.

I don’t feel much of a threat from a kidnapping in the Philippines but then I wouldn’t do some of the things this person did.

As I’ve said before, do not take the travel warnings for the Philippines as the Gospel but also don’t dismiss them. Going to South West Mindanao, especially in the rural areas probably warrants a few days in a mental hospital.  In my opinion, you have to be crazy to go there.

This is the area where foreigners and especially American’s are most likely become another kidnapping in the Philippines statistic.

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Filed under: Trouble In Mindanao

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