Uganda’s security services have launched a manhunt for unknown militants who sneaked into Queen Elizabeth National Park and kidnapped tourists, Chimp Corps report.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) said in a statement today that “four armed men ambushed a tourist van that was on a Game Drive in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.”
The outlaws, according to UTB, “put the occupants under gun point and abducted two of them; a Ugandan driver and an American Citizen.”
Cases of tourists being kidnapped in Uganda are very rare.
ChimpReports understands the kidnappers could have fled to the restive eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A source also said the kidnappers asked for a ransom of $500,000 (Shs 1.8bn) before releasing the captives.
Situated astride the Equator in the Western Rift Valley of South West Uganda, close to the southernmost tip of the Ruwenzori Mountains, the park is contiguous with Virunga National Park in DRC.
The kidnapping happened near Katoke Gate in the Park.
Officials said the other occupants of the van who were left behind managed to contact a few people; who came to their rescue.
“All security agencies such as the Uganda Police and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces including wardens from the Uganda Wildlife Authority have joined in the hunt for these outlaws with the main aim of safely securing the hostages,” said UTB.
“The lives of the kidnapped are a key priority during this process. We appeal for calm as we find a lasting solution to this issue. Further information will be shared with the public as it comes in.”
The identities of the captives are yet to be unveiled by authorities,
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination.
The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.