More than a dozen armed men abducted a naturalized American, her teenage son and Filipino nephew before dawn Tuesday from a southern Philippine island near a stronghold of al-Qaida-linked militants, officials said.

Suspicion fell on the notorious Abu Sayyaf, which has been blamed for ransom kidnappings, beheadings and bombings in the last two decades, or a Muslim rebel commander whose group has been linked to previous abductions.

The 400-plus Abu Sayyaf militants, who are fighting for an Islamist state in the predominantly Christian nation, are holding three other kidnap victims, including a child, as part of desperate efforts to raise funds, according to the Philippine army.

The assailants seized Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, her 14-year-old son and 19-year-old Filipino nephew from a house in Zamboanga city’s Tictabon island village, then fled with their captives in two motorized boats, said police Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo.

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