“They could have sold me to a different group. When I went out in the open they had guns that also protected me. It could have been so much worse than it was,” Kimberley Endicott told CBS on Thursday.
She also said that while her captors drank water from a hole they gave her bottled water and that at one point they made a tent for her to sleep in.
Endicott, a 35-year-old Californian, and her Congolese safari guide JP Mirenge Remezo were kidnapped by four men on April 2 while touring Queen Elizabeth National Park. They were held for five days and forced to walk across the border to the more unstable Democratic Republic of the Congo where they spent most of their captivity.
She said at one point while they were walking she looked up the most beautiful sky she’d ever seen. “That was when I became very aware of humanizing myself to them … I said, 'Look at the sky.' I said, 'We don't have this at home.'" She told CBS it became a kind of “relationship,” and after they built her a tent she wondered for the first time, 'Why are they taking such good care of me?'"
After five days, both Endicott and Remezo were released April 8. She said a woman from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority and another man met them when they were released and took them to safety on a motorcycle.
The ransom demand made to her tour company was for $500,000, the Los Angeles Times reported, but it’s unclear how much was actually paid or who paid it. The four men were arrested just days after their release.
Kimberly Endicott with her guide, JP Mirenge Remezo, a day after they were rescued following a kidnapping by unknown gunmen in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. (Wild Frontiers via AP)
She said that certain things, like a recent nature walk, trigger her, but after everything, she still feels Uganda is a safe country and said the people there are “immensely friendly.” “I was the exception,” she said.
"Hopefully something beautiful is going to come out of this,” she added. “That's where I have to hold my hope."