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American tourist kidnapped in Ugandan park rescued, according to the Uganda military

Key Points
  • Kimberley Sue Endecott, 35, was abducted by gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 4.
  • The kidnappers later demanded a ransom of $500,000 for her release.
  • "She has been located and rescued unharmed," Uganda military spokesman, Brigadier Richard Karemire told Reuters.

An American tourist who was kidnapped alongside her driver in a national park in southwestern Uganda has been rescued unharmed, the Ugandan military told Reuters on Sunday.

Kimberley Sue Endecott, 35, was abducted by gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 4. The kidnappers later demanded a ransom of $500,000 for her release.

"She has been located and rescued unharmed," Uganda military spokesman, Brigadier Richard Karemire told Reuters. Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said in a tweet that driver Jean Paul had also been rescued.

Endecott and Paul were on a game drive on Tuesday evening when four gunmen ambushed their vehicle, a police statement said.

Later Sunday President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Endecott's release. 

Various illegal groups from Somali Islamists to Congolese-based rebels sometimes operate in Uganda, but the kidnappers' identity was not known.

An elderly couple also at the scene were not taken and raised the alarm.

"I suspect the kidnappers left them because they were elderly. They took all their possessions," Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said last week.

Califonia-based Endecott and the couple, whose relationship was unclear, entered Uganda on March 29 and flew the next day to the park in the country's southwest, the spokesman added at the time.

The U.S. embassy in Kampala said last week, "We take seriously any threats against U.S. citizens abroad. Security forces are responding to the incident."

The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab has carried out attacks in Uganda in the past, but has never been known to kidnap anyone for ransom there.

The park, Uganda's most visited, is located about 400 km (250 miles) southwest of the capital Kampala, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is home to many fragmented rebel groups.

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