Government of Uganda has come out with reassurance to potential visitors around the world that their security will be the country’s primary responsibility.
The Ministry of Tourism also described last week’s kidnap and eventual release of an American tourist in Queen Elizabeth National Park and her guide, as an “isolated incident” that shouldn’t be treated as a major security threat.
Early last week, Mrs Kimbley Sue and field ranger Jean Paul Mirenge Remezo were grabbed on gun point and taken across to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yesterday after 5 days in captivity, the duo was released by the captors after payment, according to sources, of a ransom to the tune of $20,000; a small fraction of the initial $500,000 that the captors had asked. Police however, denies ransom was paid.
Shortly after the release, United States President Donald Trump rushed to trumpet the good news to millions of his social media followers.
Pleased to report that the American tourist and tour guide that were abducted in Uganda have been released. God bless them and their families!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2019
Hours later on Monday however, Mr Trump followed this up with a stern call to Ugandan authorities to hunt down the people behind the kidnap, and to try them openly, failure of which he said would have negative consequences to the country.
Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American Tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there. Bring them to justice openly and quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2019
Speaking in response to this warning however, State Tourism Minister Hon Godfrey Kiwanda said the US president was almost preaching to the choir.
Kiwanda told ChimpReports that what Mr Trump was calling for was exactly what the Government of Uganda is already doing.
“Nobody needs to tell us that; it is our mandate to look for these people and we are looking for them,” Kiwanda said.
The minister however, quickly added that while what happened last week was unfortunate, it is not unique to Uganda, and that even the most developed countries often have to deal with such situations.
“This has not even happened in the US for the first time nor the last time. This just happened in Uganda but also happened in the US, South Africa and so on. What I can say is that it is our mandate to hunt down the perpetrators.”
Minister Kiwanda nonetheless gave assurance to people with plans to visit Uganda that they will be safe.
“We just want to confirm to everybody out there that this is an isolated case that we are dealing with. It should not scare anybody; not even the American president. If you look at all the many things that have happened to America, no one would be going there today,” he said.
Asked where the ministry was working with security forces in efforts to track the kidnappers, Minister Kiwanda confirmed that this operation is ongoing, but said the security will not be divulging further information, to maintain the integrity of the mission.
Earlier today President Yoweri Museveni promised to “deal with these isolated pockets of criminals.”
The President also reassured tourists and all Ugandans “that the country is safe and we shall continue to improve the security in our parks.”