Armed men who are said to have abducted a female American tourist as well as a Ugandan who was driving a group of tourists in Queen Elizabeth national park, have demanded Shs 1.8 bn as ransom.
The incident occurred Tuesday between 6pm and 7pm, along the Edward track, a section located between Katoke gate and wilderness camp.
Police has Wednesday issued a statement saying it has dispatched an elite squad from the Tourism Police to reinforce the security teams at Queen Elizabeth national park to pursue a group of 4 armed men who abducted an American tourist and Ugandan driver.
The victims are Kimbley Sue Endecott, 38, an American female tourist and Jean Paul the Ugandan who was driving the van. The tourists were traveling in a motor vehicle Reg No UAR 777E of World Frontiers Safaris Uganda.
The Deputy Police spokesperson, ACP Polly Namaye said the remaining tourists, an elderly couple of Martin Julius and wife Barbel contacted the camp manager who managed to rescue them. They are all safe.
According to Police, the abductors have already made contact seeking ransom. ACP Namaye said they (abductors) used the victim’s phone to demand for ransom amounting to USD 500,000 (Shs 1.8bn).
“We strongly believe this ransom is the reason behind the kidnap,” Namaye said.
Police said that upon seizing the tourist and the driver, the abductors took the car keys with them leaving the other occupants of the van stranded.
“The American embassy has been informed about its missing citizen and there are efforts directed towards his safe recovery and that of our tour guide,” Police said.
“We want to urge the members of 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 DRC in search for the victims since the park is along the border”.
Namaye said that Police strongly believes that the abductors could still be trapped within the search area and “we are hopeful that our efforts will lead to their successful recovery”.
“We want to further reassure the public that this is the first incident of this kind registered in such a very peaceful setting and those planning to visit the national park and its surroundings should not be discouraged”.
Police also said it has strengthened safety measures for both the local residents and visitors.