The spotlight still shines on Uganda in the wake of the abduction, and later release, of American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her guide Jean Paul Mirenge. The duo was on an evening drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park at the Ishasha section, popular for tree-climbing lions.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), in charge of national parks and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), in charge of marketing Uganda as a tourism destination, have both come out to assure tourists of safety in the parks.
In a joint statement release by both agencies, the kidnap was an isolated incident.
“Through the Uganda Wildlife Authority and security agencies, new measures as well as strict guidelines to avoid similar incidents have been put in place. Security has been tightened in all national parks for tourists’ safety. Tourists are encouraged to continue visiting the parks and to enjoy Uganda’s wildlife abundance,” the statement says.
The statement also goes on to state that in addition to UWA rangers, Queen Elizabeth National Park contains multiple security forces, including Uganda Peoples Defence Force and police, especially tourism police, that work together to protect tourists in a very rare case that they are faced with danger.
“The safety of our visitors is a first priority. Over the years these protected areas have been known for their safety for visitors and this has not changed. Visitors enjoy wildlife viewing, nature walks and other activities and return home safely to strongly recommend Uganda as the must visit destination to their friends and families,” the statement reads on.