Tourists won't feel safe going to Uganda until the kidnappers of a US woman are caught, US President Donald Trump tweeted Monday, as Uganda's leader also took to Twitter to urge people to visit ‘the Pearl of Africa.’ ‘Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American Tourist [sic] and guide before people will feel safe in going there. Bring them to justice openly and quickly!’ Trump tweeted Monday.
US tourist Kimberley Sue Endicott was snatched, along with her Ugandan guide Jean Paul Mirenge, from the Queen Elizabeth National Park on Wednesday. Ugandan police announced on Sunday that the two had been rescued.
Also Monday, Ugandan police said they suspected an armed group that operates on the border with Congo of being behind the kidnapping.
‘We shall deal with these isolated pockets of criminals,’ President Yoweri Museveni said on Twitter.
‘I want to reassure the country and our tourists that Uganda is safe and we shall continue to improve the security in our parks,’ he continued.
‘Come and enjoy the Pearl of Africa.’ Shortly after Trump's tweet, a Ugandan government spokesman tweeted to the US leader that crime is worse in the United States.
‘@realDonaldTrump There are more gun deaths in the #US than #kidnaps in Uganda. Nevertheless many people still flock to the #US,’ said Ofwono Opondo P'Odel, head of the Uganda Media Centre, the government's official centre for public communications.
Police held a press conference giving some of the details of the kidnap and rescue, but not specifying which armed group - there are several in the area - they suspected.
However, police spokesman Fred Enanga noted Ugandan security forces were cooperating with their counterparts in Congo to try to arrest the kidnappers.
Enanga refused to be drawn on whether a ransom had been paid, after deputy police spokeswoman Polly Namaye told dpa last week that the abductors had demanded half a million dollars.
‘Police and government do not accept giving ransoms to thugs. Over this ransom issue, you can consult the families of those people,’ Enanga said.
‘At this stage we cannot provide specific details of how the rescue mission was accomplished for future operational-security and tactical reasons.’