An American citizen and her local guide have been abducted during a game ride in a prominent tourist park in Uganda, a U.S federal official confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday.
The incident is believed to have happened between 6 and 7 pm Tuesday near a wilderness camp in Queen Elizabeth National Park, where two armed men held four tourists at gunpoint. Two were rescued and alerted authorities.
However, the mobile phone of the American woman was used to make a ransom demand of $500,000, according to Ugandan police. It is unclear where she is being held. There are conflicting reports regarding the woman's identity. She was initially named as Kimberley Sue Endecott, 35, but subsequent reports identified her as Kimberley Sue, from Endicott, N.Y.
“The police dispatched an elite squad from the Tourism Police to reinforce security teams and actively pursue a group of 4 unknown gunmen,” the Deputy Police Spokesperson Polly Namaye said in a statement, noting that they believe the victims are likely still in the area. “We want to further reassure the public that this is the first incident of this kind registered in such a very peaceful setting.”
The U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that they are currently in the process of trying to gather all the details of the alleged ransom demand.
The exit between the park and the Democratic Republic of Congo has since been closed. It is not yet known which group or individuals are behind the kidnapping.
Somali Islamist group al Shabaab has launched attacks in Uganda in the past, but it has never kidnapped anyone for ransom, according to Reuters.