Onesmus Byaruhanga alias Kaliisa, 43, was on Thursday charged with three counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnap with intent to procure a ransom
KAMPALA - Police have charged a man believed to have been the mastermind of the kidnap of US tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott.
Onesmus Byaruhanga alias Kaliisa, 43, was on Thursday charged with three counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnap with intent to procure a ransom in Kanungu district, western Uganda.
Police believe the suspect played a supportive role in surveilling the movement of the American tourist from Bwindi National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park and thereafter furnishing the kidnapping team to their local criminal gang with information.
Endicott and her driver Jean-Paul Mirenge were ambushed as they drove through the Queen Elizabeth National Park on the evening of April 2. The kidnappers later used their (tourist's) phones to demand a ransom, which was reportedly paid.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga in a statement said Byaruhanga was "highly involved" in the post kidnap demands as well as planning and carrying out kidnappings. Police also link the suspect to aggravated robberies and the murder of a resident in Kanungu Town Council.
"We plan to file additional charges against him and his criminal associates. The task team is also reviewing circumstances under which members of this local kidnapping ring were granted bail on similar kidnap before the court," he said.
Despite the April 2 incident, Police said they are making progress in clamping down on kidnaps in the country.
"We want to inform the public that the Police and its sister security agencies have largely been successful in efforts to combat kidnappings in the country…A large part of the success is attributed to the effective anti-kidnap strategies in place with close cooperation from the community," he said.
"So far the kidnapping ring in Kanungu district has been dismantled, additional suspects are being processed and the operation to apprehend the known remaining perpetrators of the criminal kidnapping enterprise is still ongoing."
Press release pic.twitter.com/Jlt8RUdHyH— Uganda Police Force (@PoliceUg) April 18, 2019
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