All national parks managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) remain open to visitors. UWA will continue to work with other security agencies to ensure that all people visiting the country’s protected areas are safe.
This statement was issued by UWA earlier today (October 18) following a tragic attack by “unknown assailants” in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Nyamunuka area along Katwe Road in western Uganda’s Kasese District, which saw two foreign tourists and their guide attacked and killed.
“We regret to report that all three individuals were attacked today (Tuesday, October 17) and killed by unknown assailants, who also set their vehicle ablaze. The deceased, whose names are withheld, include a Ugandan, a UK citizen, and a South African citizen. They were travelling under Gorilla and Wildlife Safaris, a local tour company,” said a UWA spokesperson.
“In response to this incident, UWA has informed the Uganda Police Force and other security agencies working diligently to establish the precise sequence of events leading up to this horrific incident and to identify those responsible.”
Ugandan authorities have cautioned against spreading false information and speculation on social media.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims, and we share in their grief during this difficult time. The safety and security of tourists visiting our protected areas is of utmost importance to us,” said UWA.
The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) also expressing its heartfelt condolences, noted that its primary concern is the safety and security of visitors to Uganda. "This unfortunate occurrence does not reflect the overall safety standards of our tourism destination sites and is an isolated incident. The law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident thoroughly to bring the perpetrators to justice. Since the incident, there has been enhanced security in the area to prevent any such recurrence.
“Tourism remains a vital pillar of Uganda's economy, and we are fully committed to maintaining and improving the safety and security of our visitors. Queen Elizabeth National Park, in particular, is recognized for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife. All tourists are encouraged to continue visiting Uganda and its various attractions, including Queen Elizabeth National Park, while taking the necessary precautions and adhering to the guidance provided by authorities. Tourists should continue to enjoy their experiences in this beautiful park,” said Lilly Ajarova UTB CEO.
FCDO advises against travel to certain parts of Uganda
Ugandan police spokesperson Fred Enanga said on social media site X: "We have registered a cowardly terrorist attack on two foreign tourists and a Ugandan in Queen Elizabeth National Park.”
According to him, joint security forces were pursuing suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group – an IS-linked Islamist group that traces its roots to Uganda but operates mainly in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) has adjusted its travel advice warning against “all but essential travel to parts of Uganda”.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Uganda. Attacks could be indiscriminate or against foreign nationals or places frequented by foreign nationals.”
The FCDO advisory referred to yesterday’s attack: “The attackers remain at large. The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you are currently in the park, you should follow the advice of local security authorities. If you can do so safely, you should consider leaving the area.”
The Ugandan authorities continue to work to reduce the risk of further attacks. Additional security checks may include baggage and car searches in public places, including hotels.
According to the FCDO and the Ugandan police, there have been other terror attacks in the country over the last three years, including last month when the Uganda Police Force disrupted an attempted IED attack at Miracle Centre Cathedral in the Rubaga Division of Kampala on September 3.
“They have since reported the discovery and disposal of further IEDs and detained multiple suspects in custody,” reads the FCDO advisory.