Her guide, Congolese national Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo, was also freed in the hostage situation, said officials, ABC News reported on April 7.
Endicott and Remezo were abducted at gunpoint inside Queen Elizabeth National Park it was reported. Ransom was $500,000.
However, it’s not clear if the figure was paid to the kidnappers. Also unclear is how they were saved.
Her guide drove into a Uganda safari park 'without an armed guard' when her vehicle was ambushed.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also issued a comment about the family, saying the United States has a policy of not paying ransom to secure the release of American citizens.
“Please remember that any payment to a terrorist or a terrorist regime gives money so that they can seize more of our people,” Pompeo said. “Even a small payment to a group in, say, Africa can facilitate the killing or seizure of tens or even hundreds of others, including Americans or foreign nationals in that region,” reported The Associated Press.
Keith Endicott called on the U.S. government to help save her life.
Authorities in Uganda are expanding their search beyond the country's most popular wildlife park after a U.S. tourist…
“Get the Navy SEALS, get them on a plane and go save her. Don’t pay ransom, I’m good with that. But he didn’t say any of those things, and maybe they’re doing those things, but who knows,” he said.
Uganda Wildlife Authority spokeman Bashir Hangi, said the kidnapping is without precedent.
“This is a one-off incident, it’s an isolated incident. It is not something that happens regularly. It is not something that we are known for,” Hangi said to ABC. “It’s very unfortunate, it is regrettable but it happened.”
BREAKING: An American woman and her safari guide who where kidnapped in a Ugandan wilderness park and held for five days by armed captors demanding a $500,000 ransom were returned safely, authorities said.
“Our parks are very safe right now. Tourists are in the parks as I speak. Tourist activities are going on despite the incident. Because we have security in our parks, we maintain national parks and they are all very safe. That’s why you have not had such an incident before, and now that it has happened it has also opened our eyes to do some soul searching and see how can we best improve on the security of our people,” he continued.
Various illegal groups from Somali extremist Islamists to Congolese-based rebels sometimes operate in Uganda, but the kidnappers’ identity was not known, Reuters reported.
An American woman who was kidnapped with her driver at Uganda’s most popular wildlife park by gunmen had failed to take…
“We have armed ranger guides, if you’re going out on a drive in the park you’re supposed to have one but these tourists went out on their own without a guard,” Hangi added. “From their camp in the park, they just got into a vehicle and went out. They should have notified us and informed us that they’re going out for a game drive and then we would have availed them a guard but they didn’t do this.”
Reuters reported that Endicott entered Uganda on March 29 and went to a park in the south.
According to CBS, gunmen dragged the two from a safari vehicle, leaving behind two other people described as an “elderly couple.”
Later, the suspects used the victim’s phone to demand a half-million dollars, The Washington Post reported.
Uganda’s Tourism Ministry said the country has a $1.37 billion tourism industry.