Kimberly Sue Endicott, the American tourist from Costa Mesa, California, who was kidnapped along with her tour guide on a safari in Uganda were rescued alive, according to local authorities.
“She has been located and rescued unharmed,” Uganda military spokesman Brigadier Richard Karemire told Reuters. Police said on Twitter that the Endicott and her Congolese tour guide “are in good health” and “in the safe hands” of security officials.
Citing a spokesperson for Wild Frontiers Uganda and authorities, ABC News reported that Endicott and her Congolese tour guide were returned to a lodge at Queen Elizabeth National Park. Uganda’s police force said the pair was “rescued” but did not provide specifics. The kidnappers have reportedly escaped.
Endicott, who reportedly owns a small skin-care shop and is in her mid-50’s, has been missing since Tuesday when four kidnappers stopped the safari group at gunpoint in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Endicott reportedly has a daughter and a granddaughter.
Her 48-year-old driver, Jean-Paul Mirgene Remezo, was also taken in the kidnapping. Two elderly tourists with the group were left in the safari jeep.
Local police say the kidnappers used Endicott’s mobile phone to demand a $500,000 ransom. Cops believe the motive behind the kidnapping was financial, mainly because the men quickly made their demand for the money using Endicott’s cellphone.
The kidnappers have reportedly been trying to negotiate her release. It was not clear if any money was exchanged and, if so, how much.
Kidnappings of this nature are rare in Uganda, Reuters reports. The most recent high-profile kidnapping occurred in 1999, when eight tourists and four guides were killed in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, just south of Queen Elizabeth National Park.