American Tourist and Driver Kidnapped in Uganda, $500K Ransom Demand Issued
An American tourist visiting the Queen Elizabeth Game Park in Uganda was kidnapped on Tuesday between 6 and 7 p.m.. Four gunmen took 3 tourists and one driver, then left two of them abandoned as they ran off with the driver and Kimberley Sue Endicott, 35. Those left behind alerted authorities, who have “deployed in full force” to find them.
Update: Uganda Police report that the two captives were rescued in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Police & its sister security agencies have today rescued Ms.Kimberley Sue, an American tourist together with her guide who were kidnapped while on an evening game drive at Queen Elizabeth National park.The duo are in good health & in the safe hands of the joint security team.— Uganda Police Force (@PoliceUg) April 7, 2019
Martin Julius and his wife Barbel, along with Kimberly Endicott, and Senior Game guide/driver Jean Paul were viewing the evening wildlife when they were accosted by four gunmen. The men “put them at gunpoint” then left the older couple and took of with the other two. The Julius’ contacted park authorities about the abduction. They were not harmed. conflicting reports stated four tourists left behind or the older couple.
Press Release on the kidnapped tourist pic.twitter.com/2zwwIpcQhD— Uganda Police Force (@PoliceUg) April 3, 2019
Kimberley’s cell phone was used to make a ransom demand of $500,000. They took the Safari vehicle and left it abandoned. Ugandan police and security forces have closed off all park entrances nearby and believe the kidnappers may still be within the park. A massive search effort has been launched.
“A joint operation by the Uganda police, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Wildlife Authority Game Wardens is underway to locate and rescue them. The priority at this point is to locate, rescue and bring them back to safely.” Police spokesman
The park sits close to the border of the DRC- Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the AFP in Kenya, numerous armed gangs and militia groups roam that part of the Congo.
According to reports, this is the first incident of its kind inside a sanctioned game park, and could create problems for the Ugandan tourist industry. Their economy is heavily dependent on tourists.
Uganda wildlife is a major tourism revenue earner for the country, but today’s armed kidnapping of an American woman tourist, who is being held for US$500,000 ransom, is a setback for Uganda’s tourism industry. IOA is following developments. pic.twitter.com/IMllwBjqxv— In On Africa (IOA) (@InOnAfrica) April 3, 2019
#Uganda: US tourist and their Ugandan driver kidnapped in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. A ransom demand of $500k has been made using the victim’s mobile phone #kidnapping #US https://t.co/8wOtyBrE0X— InTouch (@SE_InTouch) April 3, 2019
Featured photo: Screenshot via Queen Elizabeth Park video on YouTube