Ransom paid to Ugandan kidnappers

A ransom was paid for release of an American woman and her safari guide who were kidnapped in a Ugandan wilderness park five days ago.

Kim Sue Endicott of Southern California, the owner of a Costa Mesa skincare shop, and her tour guide, Congolese national Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo, were freed Sunday. The kidnappers demanded a $500,000 ransom, but it was not immediately known how much was paid. In fact, it’s also unknown who paid the money. "Security services have this evening managed to rescue kidnapped citizen Kimberly Sue Endicott and her driver Jean Paul Mirenge [Remezo]," the government of Uganda tweeted. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in the search.

Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed empathy for the Endicott family last week but said the U.S. has a long tradition of not paying a ransom to secure the release of U.S. citizens. Ephraiam Kamuntu, the Ugandan minister of tourism, went to the park this weekend hoping to reassure the families of Endicott and Remezo that the Uganda government was doing everything it could to find their loved ones. Ugandan authorities said that the kidnapping was unprecedented and their parks are very safe.