FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – A teenage boy who was abducted by Abu Sayyaf rebels escaped from the hands of his kidnappers late afternoon yesterday (December 10), a military official said.
Col Ricardo Visaya, the Commander of all Army Forces in Basilan island said that combined elements of the 32nd Infantry Battalion led by Lt Col Rosalio Pompa backed by the 4th Scout Ranger Company, safely fetched Kevin Lunsmann, 14, from his hiding place in the bushes located in Bulingan Village, Lamitan town at around 7pm, Saturday.
“A local resident spotted him in the bush. He refused to be taken by the villager and instead, requested for uniformed soldiers to fetch him”, said Visaya.
The villager called Lamitan Mayor Roderick Furigay who in turn rang Visaya at around 6pm. The soldiers rushed to the scene on board military trucks to take Lunsmann into custody.
Lunsmann was brought to Joint Task Group Basilan camp where he was interviewed by US and Filipino soldiers at around 9pm.
“Kevin said that he was able to escape due to the confusion brought about by the presence of soldiers who came near their forest hideout at around noon on December 9. He dashed towards freedom when he saw the golden opportunity to do so," said Visaya, adding that the relentless military pursuit operations paved the way for Lunsmann's escape.
Lunsmann was roaming the forests for 2 days, eluding the bandits who tried to track him down. He had scratches and minor wounds that he sustained while running for his life in the thickly vegetated terrain.
Lunsmann was flown to Zamboanga City late last night where he was presented to Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat. Later, he was taken by FBI agents to an unknown location.
Visaya extended his gratitude to the local government of Lamitan and the police for continuously supporting the government's drive to eradicate lawlessness in the area.
Kevin Lunsmann (green shirt) receives a debriefing at the headquarters of the Joint Task Group Basilan in Tabiawan, Isabela City at 9:00pm last night. (Photo by JTG Basilan)