KAMPALA, Uganda – An American woman and her tour guide have been kidnapped in Uganda at a popular wildlife park. The four gunmen are demanding a $500,000 ransom, police said Wednesday.
Ugandan security forces said on Wednesday that they are searching Queen Elizabeth Park, where the abduction took place, for the two victims and their kidnappers. In a statement police identified the kidnapped woman as 35-year-old, Kimberley Sue Endecott and her Ugandan driver Jean Paul.
American Woman Being Held Hostage For $500,000 in Uganda
The american woman and her driver were on a safari with another couple when the vehicle was ambushed by four gunmen on Tuesday night, police said in a statement. The woman and driver were then taken hostage while an elderly couple was left behind to call for help. According to police the woman’s cell phone was used later to demand the $500,000 ransom.
According to Reuters, various illegal groups from Somali Islamists to Congolese-based rebels sometimes operate in Uganda. At this time the identity of the kidnappers or any group they belong to is unknown.
The relationship between California based Endecott and the elderly couple is unknown but they did enter Uganda on March 29 and flew the next day to the park in the country’s southwest.
Police said the kidnapping appears to be financially motivated, since the kidnappers immediately made a demand using Endecott’s mobile.
Queen Elizabeth Park is the most visited in Uganda and is 400km southwest of the capital Kampala. It’s home to more than 95 species of mammals, 500 species of birds and 2,500 elephants. The park is generally regarded as safe for tourists