American Tourist Kidnapped and Held For Ransom


(Image via ABC News)

Jalie Blix, Writer

We all have our dream travel destinations; where we want to go, and what we would like to see there. However, for Kimberly Sue Endicott, her dream vacation was turned into a nightmare. Endicott had always dreamed of a safari vacation in Uganda, but when she was finally able to go, four men stopped the vehicle she was in at gunpoint and kidnapped her and the safari guide.

The kidnappers held them for 5 days, demanding a $500,000 payment for their safe return. According to a Uganda-based tour official, the ransom was paid to ensure Endicott’s freedom, stating that she was released, and not rescued. It is, however, disputed over whether the ransom was actually paid. While the tour officials claim that the money was paid, security services claim she was rescued.

As of April 9th, 2019, eight arrests have been made in connection to Endicott’s kidnapping. They are believed to be involved in the illegal trade of fish and ivory. According to CBS News, the suspects made almost nothing from the ransom they demanded Edicott’s return. The Uganda Police Force claims they are still searching for more suspects in nearby areas.

The U.S. has responded to the kidnapping and release of Kimberly Sue Endicott after her family claimed they needed more help from the U.S. government. Endicott’s cousin, Rich Endicott stated, “The family has done what’s been asked of them to do. I think it’s the government’s time to help us.” Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, showed his sympathy for Endicott and her family, however, explained the United States’ tradition of not paying ransom for the release of U.S. citizens. Following Endicott’s release, President Trump tweeted, “Pleased to report that the American tourist and tour guide that was abducted in Uganda have been released. God bless them and their families.”

Harm to tourists is not unheard of by any means. Tourists are often seen as easy targets, and often become victims of robbery, assault, and abduction. While traveling is fun and can be a life-changing experience, it’s important to keep in mind that we must be safe during our adventures as well. Let family and friends at home know your plans for the day, keep money and cards in separate places, carry only a copy of your passport while sightseeing, and keep your hotel room locked.