American grandmother begins her journey home after being freed by Ugandan kidnappers

American grandmother begins her journey home after being freed by Ugandan kidnappers

American grandmother begins her journey home after being freed by Ugandan kidnappers

Kimberly Sue Endicott, 56, an aesthetician from Costa Mesa, California, and her driver, Congolese national Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo, were rescued by security forces, the Ugandan government said on Twitter.

They were released unharmed yesterday in an exchange for ransom near Uganda's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to local reports.

Ugandan Police said then that kidnappers used one of their phones to demand a ransom of $500,000 (£383,435).

Mike Walker, manager of Wild Frontiers Safaris, said United States tourist Kimberly Endicott and experienced guide Jean-Paul Mirenge, were "back safe".

A ransom was believed to have been paid for their release.

The American citizen - a woman - was abducted alongside four people, but the other four were freed while the woman and her driver were taken from the park, officials said. Police confirmed that they were returned alive and in good health.

"The successful recovery of the captives, serves as a reminder to those enemies who want to harm our own people including visitor's, that we will do everything possible within our means to defend them", Fred Enanga said.

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"At this stage we can not provide specific details on how the rescue mission was accomplished, for future operational security and tactical reasons", Enanga said.

The handover was "quiet and peaceful", the source added.

"Otherwise she wouldn't be back", the official said, speaking anonymously. An American couple, four Britons and two New Zealanders were killed with four Ugandan guides after being ambushed in the Bwindi Impenetrable national park, a few kilometres south of the Queen Elizabeth park. Lopez had been following Endicott's trip through photos her friend posted on Instagram.

Its spokesman said "you're supposed to have" armed guards while taking a game drive but the tour company Endicott was with denied that it is a rule.

A massive Ugandan-led security operation was launched, and closely monitored by the U.S. State Department. It borders the famous Virunga national park, the oldest in Africa. "God bless them and their families!" he wrote.

Cases of kidnap of tourists are extremely rare in Uganda and authorities have emphasized that point as Sue's case is most likely to negatively impact on the booming tourism industry. "Bring them to justice openly and quickly!", Mr Trump tweeted just hours after President Yoweri Museveni tweeted insisting Uganda was safe for travellers and vowed to strengthen security in national parks. "Privacy considerations prevent us from commenting further at this time".

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