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American Woman Kidnapped on Safari and Held For Ransom in Uganda

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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 kidnapped in Uganda on safari
Game Drives are Popular For Tourists in Uganda - Credit: Sovereign

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. 

"I suspect the kidnappers left them because they were elderly. They took all their possessions"

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. 

"We want to inform the public and all visitors in the country that the Joint Security teams, have cut off all exit areas on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in search for the victims, since the park is along the border. We strongly believe the perpetrators, and victims could still be trapped within our search area, and we are hopeful that our efforts will lead to their successful recovery."

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.

“We take seriously any threats against U.S. citizens abroad. Security forces are responding to the incident,”

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