US Teen Escapes Muslim Militants in Philippines

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A kidnapped American teen is safe after escaping his terrorist captors in a Philippine jungle, military officials said Monday.

Kevin Lunsmann, 14, was staying at an island resort with his mother and cousin when they were kidnapped five months ago by the Abu Sayyaf, an al Qaeda affiliate.

Abu Sayyaf is the same group that kidnapped Kansas missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham in the Philippines in 2001.  Martin was killed in 2002.

Kevin's Filipino-American mom was released in October. His cousin also escaped, leaving the teenager as the lone captive.

Abu Sayyaf demanded a ransom from the boy's family in Virginia. 

"It was a tough time, a tough five months," Lunsmann's father, Heiko, recalled. "I can only tell you he is a hero."

Kevin fled for his life Friday after he told his captors he was going to bathe in a stream.  He spent nearly two days barefoot in the jungle until he was found by villagers on an island more than 500 miles from Manila.

The boy was stunned, exhausted and had bruised feet, but is otherwise in good shape.  He said he survived on coconuts and candy taken from the kidnappers.

"Nobody in the world has any idea how I feel.  And I am so proud of my son," Heiko Lunsmann said.

Harry Thomas, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, vowed that Lunsmann's captors would be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.