Suspected kidnappers of American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott have been arrested. Endicott and a Ugandan tour guide Jean Paul Mirenge were kidnapped by four gunmen, who hijacked their safari vehicle from Queen Elizabeth National Park on April 4.
The gunmen had demanded a ransom of USD 500,000 using their victims’ cell phones. Sources told this publication on Monday that kidnappers received a negotiated sum of USD 30,000 (about 100 million Shillings) out of USD 500,000 (1.8b) they had earlier demanded to free Endicott and Mirenge.
But according to police, the two were rescued from the Democratic Republic of Congo by a joint effort involving the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and sister security agencies.
Reports indicate that the US military also provided support to Ugandan security forces to accomplish the mission. The support included intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets and liaison officers, according to US news outlets.
Endicott was handed over to the US Embassy in Kampala by Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola on Monday.
This publication has since learnt that two of the four gunmen have been apprehended. The two were only identified as Hakim and Kwarishiima. Sources said the suspects were flown from Kanungu district where they were tracked using a device which was placed in the ransom money they received before setting Endicott and Mirenge free.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed to this publication that there were some arrests made in regard to the kidnap. He, however, declined to divulge details. “I can confirm that there were some arrests but I am yet to get details. I will brief you when I get the information,” Enanga said.
US President Donald Trump on Monday tasked Uganda government to arrest the kidnappers before people can feel safe to come to Uganda.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2019
However, the fate of six Ugandans kidnapped four days before Endicott and Mirenge’s kidnap remains a mystery. The kidnaps cast a shadow on Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of most visited tourist attractions flocked by tourists to see lions, hippos, crocodiles and various types of antelopes.