KAMPALA: The joint security team has arrested some of the suspected kidnappers of an American tourist Ms. Kimberly Sue Endicott and a Senior Tour Guide, Jean Paul Mirenge- Remezo, who were rescued days ago, with reports saying US$30,000 ransom was paid to kidnappers.
“The intelligence led operation which was calculated and tactical, in the early stages is now progressing unhindered, with raids and extensive searches in Kanungu district, where the suspects were arrested and the neighboring areas,” said Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga in a press statement.
Enanga said: “We want to applaud the Joint Security team, for ensuring the kidnapping incident, where the captors were armed, in a very dynamic setting, did not go wrong, and for their breakthrough in attempts to crack down, the criminal gang.”
“We continue to remain committed to the safety of the community, and also thank all stakeholders including the US Embassy, the Tourism Sector, families and friends, and the Media for their patience and support during the recovery efforts,” he said.
The security team on April 7, rescued Ms. Kimberley Sue Endicott and Mirenge who were kidnapped on gunpoint last Tuesday, April 2, 2019, while on an evening game drive at Queen Elizabeth National park.
The two were recovered unharmed, in good health and in the safe hands of the joint security team.
United States President Donald Trump on Monday urged Uganda to find the kidnappers of an American tourist who has been freed, amid conflicting reports over whether a ransom was paid for her release.
Kim Endicott of Costa Mesa, California was released by her abductors over the weekend and was to turned over to the US ambassador on Monday, Ugandan police said.
Trump pressed Uganda’s government to capture the culprits Monday, tweeting: “Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American Tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there. Bring them to justice openly and quickly!” Over the weekend Trump tweeted that he was pleased the tourist and guide had been released.
Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga told a news conference on Monday that he did not believe a ransom had been paid.
A Uganda-based tour official said, however, that a ransom was paid to secure Endicott’s freedom. The tourist was released, “not rescued,” after money was paid “otherwise she wouldn’t be back,” said a tourism professional with knowledge of Endicott’s trip. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Many officials, including from the US Embassy, were involved in efforts to secure the release of the kidnapping victims, he said. He couldn’t say how much was paid or who paid.
Ugandan officials have said the kidnapping victims were rescued from armed kidnappers who are still at large.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Twitter that the security forces “shall deal with these isolated pockets of criminals”.
The kidnappers had demanded a $500 000 ransom after grabbing Endicott and her driver from a group of tourists on an evening game drive on April 2, police said.