Kidnapped American did not have a guard – claim

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An American woman kidnapped with her driver at a popular Uganda wildlife park failed to take an armed ranger as required by park regulations, a spokesman for the country’s wildlife authority said.

Kimberley Sue Endecott (35) and Ugandan driver Jean Paul were on a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park when four gunmen ambushed their vehicle on Tuesday evening, police said.

An elderly couple at the scene were not harmed and raised the alarm.

Various illegal groups from Somali militant Islamists to Congolese-based rebels operate in Uganda at times, but the kidnappers’ identity was not known.

“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 were on their own without a guard,” Bashir Hangi, spokesman for state-run Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), told Reuters.

“From their camp in the park, they got into a vehicle and went out. They should have notified and informed us they’re going for a game drive and we would have availed them a guard but they didn’t do this.”

California-based Endecott and the couple entered Uganda on March 29 and the next day flew to the park in the country’s south-west, the spokesman added.

There was no immediate comment on the progress of the investigation by Ugandan authorities.