Uganda: Tourist kidnapped by gunmen during safari

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Security officials in Uganda are stepping up their search efforts after an American tourist and her local guide were kidnapped at a national park.

A group of tourists taking part in a game drive at Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda was ambushed by gunmen on Tuesday. Three tourists were accompanied by a local guide when the group was held at gunpoint. Two of the tourists managed to escape but the guide and an American woman were seized by the armed group.

Kidnappers demand money for hostages

Police in Uganda say the kidnappers have used the victim’s phone to demand $500,000 in return for the tourist and her guide. The US State Department has confirmed it is aware of reports that an American citizen has been kidnapped and said Ugandan security forces are dealing with the incident.

The State Department hasn’t identified the woman but Reuters has identified her as Kimberley Sue Endecott.

In May, Ugandan police said kidnappings are on the rise in the country with 40 cases having been reported in recent months before the statement. Protestors took to the streets in June to demonstrate against a perceived lack of action by the government to tackle the issue and authorities acknowledge that anxiety is growing due to the problem.

Tourism is Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner and national parks are a major source of revenue for the environmentally-rich nation.

Featured image: By Fanny Schertzer – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39170827

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.