KIMBERLY SUE ENDICOTT SPEAKS OUT ON HER KIDNAP ENCOUNTER WHILE IN UGANDA
Kimberly Sue Endicott, a 58 year old American citizen who was kidnapped close to five days together with his guide Jean-Paul Mirenge while on a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda has spoken out about her recent abduction. In a meeting with “CBS this morning” co-host Gayle King while at her home in California, she opened up about what she went through and the efforts rendered by the Uganda government, American embassy and the tour company (Wild frontiers) who all strived hard for their release.
On being asked why she had decided to visit Uganda she said “I wanted to see gorillas, something i have always wanted to do and i had always wanted to make it happen.” she narrates that while they were driving through the park together with another elderly Canadian couple and her guide, “All of a suden, four men came out of the bush infront of us, they were not in uniform, pointed the guns at us and ordered us to get out of the van and made us sit on the ground.” they took out everything that was of value to them from the car.
Kimberly says that the gunmen ordered them to come with them and left the elderly couple there. “One kidnapper held me by hand and said ‘run, run, run’…. I’ll slap you.” She adds that the kidnapper was shaking when he held her hand. They walked for days with their captors across the Ugandan boarder heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The sun was setting while they were still walking, it gets to complete, like, pitched darkness when they get to a certain point and stopped, “I look up to the sky and see the most beautiful sky I have ever seen in my life – it was incredible.” Kimberly asserts.
“it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen in my life. And that was when I thought of humanizing myself to them…. She said, ‘look at the sky.’ We do don’t have this at home.” She adds.
She thought to herself that that would become her ‘mission’ to be human to them and that they would also see humanity in her. “I remember laying down on the ground and I remember hearing jean Paul say, oh my God, ‘at my exhaustion, I don’t know how long I laid there,” at one point I’m asked to get up, I turn and look and they had made a tent for me out of tarps and a mosquito net, which, I remember that was the moment I thought, ‘why I they taking such good care of me?”
Gayle king echoed to her that they were her captors but they were also her protectors – she tried to make herself a human being and make them human beings, they built her a tent, gave her clean water and gave her something to eat.
The kidnappers began to make calls to the tour company (Wild Frontiers) demanding the ransom, at certain points they would give them the phone to speak at points of negotiations. The tour company contacted the American embassy and she says “I was able to call and speak to my daughter… they let me do that, tell everybody what’s happening because I don’t know what is being done.”
After joint efforts between Uganda police, Uganda Tourism Board and other agencies, a ransom was paid but still not sure from which source it came from. She narrates that “A woman from UWA met the captors and handed them the money, we were both freed with no one getting any harm.”
Despite her whole ‘terrifying ordeal,’ Kimberly still believes Uganda is a safe place to visit. “that feeling of what this is going to do to this country that is run by their people and those are immensely friendly, accommodative people. And everyone in hospitality after you’ve had a conversation, the last thing they say to you was. ‘please tell all of your friends to come.”
Since then, the security bodies in Uganda arrested more than five suspects in connection to the case and have continued to work hand in hand to improve security in the country and the boarders.