Security forces in western Uganda are holding close to 50 Rwandan citizens after a raid was done for any suspicious individuals who could have solid evidence on the kidnap case of the American tourist and his driver. The Rwandan citizens were found near Uganda- Rwanda border in Rubirizi district.
Sources from police say they were arrested trying to cross to the neighboring country Democratic republic of Congo. In group of 50 people, most of them were Men though children of age below 5 years were among together with their mothers.
An elite Police squad had been dispatched from the Tourism Police to reinforce the security teams already on the ground pursuing the kidnappers.
Mwesigwa Vincent the police regional commander refused to disclose the identity of the suspects saying their arrest was suspicious and interrogations were to be handled by senior security personnel’s in UPDF and CMI.
“There is no comment I can give at the moment.”
The Cable News Network (CNN) yesterday quoted the deputy Police spokeswoman, Polly Namaye, as saying the kidnappers had made frequent demands for a $500,000 (about sh1.8b) ransom.
“They (the abductors) continue to use the cellphones of the victims to call the lodge they were staying at, asking for a $500,000 ransom, which we will not give them,”
Instead, she added that the Police will intensify the hunt for the abductors instead of paying the ransom. The army and Police were using both ground troops and aircraft to search an area covering 1,200 square miles, according to security sources.
According to sources, the security agencies elite squad conducting the search and rescue operation had zeroed in on a town (names withheld) in Kanungu, known for its pathways commonly used by gold and cosmetics smugglers.
On Tuesday, four gunmen abducted an American tourist, Kimberly Sue, together with a Ugandan tour guide, Jean-Paul Mirenge, from within Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. The incident took place on Edward Track between Katoke Gate and Wilderness Camp in the park between 5:00pm and 7:00pm on April 2. Katoke Gate is in the southern part of the park.
The Inspector General of Police, Okoth Ochola is among senior security officers that have camped in the area as the search and rescue operation continues. The gunmen ambushed the tourist van that was on an evening game drive in the park. The occupants of the van were put at gunpoint before the two were dragged out and taken away.
The other occupants of the van who were left behind, an elderly couple Martin Julius and his wife Barbel managed to contact the camp manager, who took them to safety, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said in a statement.