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Gunmen demand $500,000 ransom for abducted American tourist

The gunmen who abducted a female American tourist believed to be Kimberly Sue from Endicott, USA and her driver Jean Paul in Queen Elizabeth national park are reportedly demanding for a $500,000 (about Shs 1.8bn) ransom before they can release the pair.

According to government spokesperson, also the executive director of Uganda Media Centre, Ofwono Opondo, the four-armed gunmen staged an ambush between 5.00pm and 7.00pm yesterday during a game drive, kidnapping Kimberly tourist together and Paul near Katoke Gate and Wilderness camp in Queen Elizabeth national park in the western district of Kasese.

The park borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). The pair was kidnapped while driving a vehicle reg, UAR 777E belonging to World Frontiers Safari. The gunmen reportedly kidnapped the pair and walked away with the car keys. 

Apparently, the gunmen abandoned unharmed the four other tourists, and it is these tourists, who contacted their lodge who got them rescued safely. According to army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, a joint team of security officers from the army, police and Uganda Wildlife Authority wardens has been formed to secure the safe release of the abductees.

Cases of abduction of abduction for ransom especially of foreigners are extremely rare in Uganda, although there was a wave kidnappings for ransom of school children and women in 2018 but that too subsided over time after it was revealed a large percentage of the cases were self-kidnaps or involved family members. But one case that stood out, was the kidnap and eventual murder of 28-year-old Susan Magara. 

Magara, the cashier of Bwendeiro dairy farm was kidnapped and held captive for about three weeks in February 7 last year as her kidnappers negotiated with her family for a $1 million (about Shs 3.6bn) ransom.
 
After allegedly receiving $200,000 (about Shs 700m) of the ransom money, the kidnappers killed Magara and dumped her body in Kitiko village between Kigo and Kajjansi along the Entebbe expressway on February 27, 2018. 
© 2016 Observer Media Ltd