COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — A Costa Mesa aesthetician who was kidnapped while on a safari in Uganda last week was released by her captors Sunday.
Kim Endicott, 56, and her local driver were abducted Tuesday, April 2 at gunpoint while they were looking for animals at Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Following their kidnapping, a $500,000 ransom was demanded for their release. It was not clear whether the ransom was paid or whether the kidnappers were arrested.
On Sunday, a Ugandan government spokesman said the two were located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and both were unhurt. The Uganda Wildlife Authority, which manages 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves and 14 wildlife sanctuaries in the African nation, tweeted the news shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday.
“The rescue of kidnapped tourist Kimberly Sue (Endicott) and driver guide Jean Paul is complete,” the UWA tweet said. “Both captives back in safe hands. We thank our security agencies who led the mission. This was a one off and isolated incident. Our national parks have been and remain safe to visit.”
The Uganda Police Force provided a few more details in a tweet. “Police & its sister security agencies have today rescued Ms. Kimberley Sue, an American tourist together with her guide who were kidnapped while on an evening game drive at Queen Elizabeth National park. The duo are in good health & in the safe hands of the joint security team.”
The pair were abducted between 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at gunpoint, police reported.
Endicott, 56, is an aesthetician. The driver was identified as “senior guide” Jean Paul Mirenge Romezo.
Two other tourists who were on the drive but were not abducted contacted a camp manager, “who rescued them,” police said.
Using the victim’s phone, the kidnappers demanded a $500,000 ransom, police said.
“Pleased to report that the American tourist and tour guide that were abducted in Uganda have been released. God bless them and their families!” President Donald Trump tweeted at 12:50 p.m. Sunday.
On Monday morning, Mr. Trump sent a followup tweet demanding the capture of the kidnappers.
“Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American Tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there,” Trump tweeted. “Bring them to justice openly and quickly!”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)