Published: Mon, April 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Calif. Woman and Safari Guide Kidnapped in Uganda Found Safe

Calif. Woman and Safari Guide Kidnapped in Uganda Found Safe

An American woman and her Ugandan driver were released unharmed five days after they were kidnapped in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park, according to a military spokesman.

Government Spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo wrote on Twitter that Mr Endicott and Ms Mirenge, were rescued "by Uganda security forces in the DRC".

An elite army unit is searching the area, the border to Congo is closed, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is actively a part of the negotiations with the kidnappers demanding US$500,000.

After the kidnapping, police officials had said that a group of four gunmen "put the tourists on gun point, and grabbed two out of four tourists, before disappearing with them".

They robbed the occupants and abducted Endicott and guide Jean Paul Mirenge Remezo.

But it appeared they had been recovered for an unknown sum of money.

"Otherwise she wouldn't be back", he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday insisted his country was safe for travellers following the kidnapping of a U.S. tourist, but vowed to further strengthen security in national parks.

A Uganda-based tour official said, however, that a ransom was paid to secure Endicott's freedom.

The police was quick to reassure any tourists planning to visit the national park, saying the kidnapping was an isolated case.

A day after the incident, the abductors contacted the rescued tourists and demanded a ransom of United States dollars 500,000 (Shs 1.8bn).

The last attack on tourists in a Ugandan park was in 1999. CBS News obtained video of California resident Kimberly Sue Endicott leaving the Inshasha Wilderness Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park on Monday by helicopter, headed for capital city Kampala. Survivors said the killers appeared to be Congo-based Hutu rebels. Uganda is home to more than half of the world's endangered mountain gorillas.

The breakthrough in the search and rescue operation is a huge sigh of relief to the tourism industry which has in the recent years witnessed exponential growth of tourist numbers to the country.

Like this: