Kidnapped American and Driver Freed in Uganda

08 April, 2019

The president of Uganda says people should not be afraid to visit the country after an American woman and her driver were kidnapped.

Ugandan officials announced Sunday the two had been rescued and were unharmed.

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped American Kimberly Sue Endicott and her driver, Jean-Paul, last week near a wilderness camp inside Queen Elizabeth National Park. The kidnappers later demanded a $500,000 ransom in exchange for the safe release of the two.

Ugandan police said on Twitter the two had been freed "in good health" and were "in the safe hands" of security officials.

The Reuters news agency reported a deal had been reached with the kidnappers to free the pair.

In this file photo, Ugandan riot police patrol on the streets of the Kamwokya neighborhood.
In this file photo, Ugandan riot police patrol on the streets of the Kamwokya neighborhood.

"A negotiated settlement was arranged with the assistance of the American government," a spokesman for the company that organized Endicott's trip told Reuters. The spokesperson did not provide additional details.

A Uganda police spokeswoman said she could not confirm whether a ransom had been paid.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni wrote on Twitter Monday that his country is committed to finding and punishing those responsible. "However, I want to reassure the country and our tourists that Uganda is safe and we shall continue to improve the security in our parks. Come and enjoy the Pearl of Africa," he tweeted.

U.S. President Donald Trump also tweeted about the kidnapping. "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!" he wrote.

Two other people were robbed but not seized and reported the kidnapping to police. The American and her driver were taken in the Ishasha part of the park, which sits near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda's most popular stops for foreigners. It contains many kinds of wildlife, including lions, hippopotamus and crocodiles.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and VOA News. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

ransom n. money that is paid in order to free someone who has been captured or kidnapped

arrange v. makes plans or prepare for something

committed adj. loyal and willing to give time and energy to something

touristn. someone who travels for recreation or pleasure