Kidnappers demand Shs1.8bn ransom for American tourist

The government has stated that a joint security operation is underway to rescue an American tourist and a Ugandan tour guide who were kidnapped in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

According to government spokesman,  Ofwono Opondo, a group of tourists were ambushed between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm yesterday. The kidnappers were armed when they attacked the tourists who were enjoying the scenic views of the expansive national park during a game drive using motor vehicle registration UAR 777E belonging to World Frontiers Safaris Uganda.

They put the tourists on gun point before leaving behind four tourists unharmed as they took the American hostage.

“Yesterday Tuesday April 2 2019 four armed men not yet identified between 5:00pm and 7:00pm staged an ambush and kidnapped an American tourist with his Ugandan driver near Katoke Gate in the Queen Elizabeth national park.  Other four tourists who were left abandoned and unharmed later contacted the base (lodge) and were quickly got safely out of any danger”, he stated.

Ofwono stated that the priority at the moment is to guarantee their safe return. He stated that Uganda Police, UPDF have backed up the game wardens in the mission to rescue the tourist and the tour guide.

“A joint operation by the Uganda police, Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Wildlife Authority Game Wardens is underway to locate and rescue them. The priority at this point is to locate, rescue and bring them back to safely”, he added.

Deputy Police Spokesperson Polly Namaye stated that the kidnappers are demanding $500,000 (about Shs1.8bn) ransom. She revealed that the kidnappers used the victim’s phone to contact the USA Embassy for the ransom.

“We strongly believe this ransom is the reason behind the attack”, she stated.

She added that security forces have cut off all exit areas on the borders between Uganda and DRC.

“We strongly believe the perpetrators are still trapped in our search area, and we are hopeful our efforts will lead to a successful recovery”, she added.