Authorities consider freed teenager a victim — mayor PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 16:19

Authorities investigating the Lunsmann kidnapping consider Romrick Jakaria, the 19-year old nephew of American national Gerfa Lunsmann, as a victim in the incident, according to Mayor Celso Lobregat.

Jakaria on Sunday morning (Nov. 13) escaped from the hands of the kidnappers in the jungles of Basilan. He sought help from barangay officials of Tubigan, Maluso and was later turned over to military authorities. He was brought to the Western Mindanao Command in Upper Calarian for debriefing yesterday afternoon.

Mayor Lobregat, chairman of the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), said Jakaria has related to authorities the circumstances concerning his escape “and I also wanted to find out the condition of Kevin” referring to Gerfa’s 14-year old son who remains in captivity since the three were forcibly taken by armed men from Gerfa’s rest house in Tictabon, Sacol Island last July 12.

Jakaria disclosed that he and Kevin were separated by the kidnappers some 3 days after Gerfa’s release in Basilan shortly before midnight of October 2, Mayor Lobregat said.

“According to him (Jakaria), Kevin and him were separated and less and less people guard him which is why he was able to escape,” the mayor said after meeting with Jakaria at the WESMINCOM headquarters together with WESMINCOM deputy commander BGen. Gerardo Layug and other agents investigating the Lunsmann case. 

Jakaria also obtained wounds on his arms in the process of escaping from his captors Sunday.

In an off the record talk with reporters, the teenager said he would not want to be interviewed by media neither to be photographed—both by video or still camera.

Lobregat believes that after his long captivity, Jakaria may be in a state of trauma. “He has been in captivity for several months now, so he needs time to compose himself to recover, so we are giving him all the space he wants but he himself wants to remain in the custody of the authorities”.

“For us he is a victim,” the mayor said when asked as to what do authorities consider Jakaria at the moment.

Debriefing on the teenager will continue in a bid to find out possible leads in the investigation of the Lunsmann case. — Sheila Covarrubias