Security agencies have called for calm as the search for two people who were abducted during a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park on Tuesday continues.
The police and army joined Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) wardens on Tuesday to safely find Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo, a senior tour guide with Wild Frontiers Uganda and Kimberly Sue Endecott, a 35-year-old American tourist, who were taken hostage by four gun wielding men.
A manhunt for the said outlaws is also ongoing.
Martin Julius and his wife Barbel, the two other tourists in the company of Mirenge and Endecott were left in the wild before the abductors fled with their colleague and tour guide.
The kidnappers, using Endecott’s phone demanded USD500000 (Shs1.8billion). According to police, ransom is the reason behind the kidnap.
“We want to inform the public and a ll visitors in the country that the Joint security teams have cut off all exit areas on the border between Uganda and the DR Congo in search of the victims since the park along the border. We strongly believe the perpetrators and victims are still trapped within our search area and we are hopeful that our efforts will lead to their successful recovery,” deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye said.
According to a joint statement by Uganda Tourism Board, the Police and UWA, four armed men ambushed a tourist van Wild Frontiers Uganda registration number UAR 777E that was carrying Mirenge and the three tourists near Katoke gate in Queen Elizabeth National Park on Tuesday evening.
“The outlaws put the occupants under gun point and abducted two of them; a Ugandan driver and an American Citizen. The other occupants of the van who were left behind managed to contact a few people who came to their rescue,” the statement signed by UTB’s Sandra Natukunda and Bashir Hangi of UWA reads in part.
“All security agencies such as the Uganda Police and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces including wardens from the Uganda Wildlife Authority have joined in the hunt for these outlaws with the main aim of safely securing the hostages. The lives of the kidnapped are a key priority during this process. We appeal for calm as we find a lasting solution to this issue.”
Tourists have been urged to continue visiting the Park, known as ‘understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination’ boasts outstanding wildlife attractions, and a fascinating cultural history, as well as other destinations.