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Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of Uganda’s most popular safari destinations. An American woman and her Ugandan guide were kidnapped there Tuesday evening. Picture: CNN
An American woman touring one of Uganda’s most popular safari destinations was kidnapped with her local guide on Tuesday evening and held for $500,000 in ransom, the authorities said.
Ugandan security forces said on Wednesday that they were searching Queen Elizabeth National Park, the site of the abduction, for the two victims and their kidnappers.
The kidnapped tourist is Kimberly Sue Endicott, and the guide is Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo, according to an official with Wild Frontiers, the safari company with which they were travelling.
The park, home to more than 600 bird species and some 2,500 elephants, is generally regarded as safe for tourists.
The kidnapping occurred between 6 and 7 p.m., while the 35-year-old American woman and the guide, accompanied by two other tourists, were on a game drive in the park, the police said.
A group of gunmen stopped the tourists’ vehicle and seized the American woman and the guide. The gunmen left behind the two other tourists, who were described by the Ugandan police as an elderly couple.
The kidnappers later used the American’s cellphone to demand the $500,000 ransom, the police said.
The park is in southwestern Uganda near the Democratic Republic of Congo. In their statement, the police said that security forces within the park had “cut off all exit areas” along the border with Congo.
In 1999, eight tourists, including an American couple, and four Ugandan park employees, were killed in a national park to the south of where Tuesday’s kidnapping occurred.
The perpetrators were rebels believed to be linked to ethnic Hutu militias involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
By Joseph Goldstein
Source: The New York Times
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