Kidnapped Costa Mesa Woman and Guide Freed

COSTA MESA (CNS) - A Costa Mesa woman who was abducted in Uganda along with a driver on Tuesday is free today following her rescue by Ugandan security forces, authorities said.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority, which manages 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves and 14 wildlife sanctuaries in the African nation, tweeted the news shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday.

“The rescue of kidnapped tourist Kimberly Sue (Endicott) and driver guide Jean Paul is complete. Both captives back in safe hands. We thank our security agencies who led the mission. This was a one off and isolated incident. Our national parks have been and remain safe to visit,” the UWA tweet said.

A Ugandan government spokesman said the two people rescued were located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and both were unhurt.

The Uganda Police Force provided a few more details in a tweet. “Police & its sister security agencies have today rescued Ms. Kimberley Sue, an American tourist together with her guide who were kidnapped while on an evening game drive at Queen Elizabeth National park. The duo are in good health & in the safe hands of the joint security team.”

The pair were abducted between 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at gunpoint, police reported.

Kimberly Sue Endicott, 56, is an aesthetician. The driver was identified as “senior guide” Jean Paul Mirenge Romezo.

Two other tourists who were on the drive but were not abducted contacted a camp manager, “who rescued them,” police said.

Using the victim's phone, the kidnappers demanded a $500,000 ransom, police said.

It was not clear whether a ransom was paid or whether the kidnappers were arrested. ABC News reported that a ransom was paid, though the amount was not specified.

“Pleased to report that the American tourist and tour guide that were abducted in Uganda have been released. God bless them and their families!” President Donald Trump tweeted at 12:50 p.m. Sunday.

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