Tuesday, March 2, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT
Uganda tourists die in gunfight
The tourists were on a trip to see mountain gorillas
Eight kidnapped Westerners were killed during a furious gun battle between Ugandan soldiers and their rebel captors, the British High Commission in Kampala has confirmed.
Five tourists were found dead at the scene of the gun battle. The bodies of the other three were found nearby, a British Foreign Office spokesman said.
Six other hostages - two Britons, one New Zealander, one Swiss, one Canadian and one American - were freed after being taken captive on Monday.
The dead are believed to be four men and four women, but their identities are not yet known.
'British captives tortured'
An American tourist who escaped said British hostages had been tortured by the rebels.
She told London's Evening Standard newspaper that at least one British man had been beaten by his captors and that the British people had been ''treated quite badly".
Another American who escaped, Elizabeth Garland, 29, said the rebels had singled out US and British nationals as hostages.
Witnesses said about 150 heavily-armed rebels stormed the park headquarters and rounded up the tourists. They then disappeared into the forest with their captives.
The UK Foreign Office spokesman said: "It appears that during the night there was some kind of a fire-fight between the rebels, park rangers and soldiers. There were also Ugandan casualties."
UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Britain had told Uganda it did not want any intervention that might put lives at risk.
In December, four Western tourists held hostage in Yemen died during a rescue attempt by Yemeni forces.
Seven of the tourists rounded up on Monday were released on the same day, including France's Deputy Ambassador to Uganda, Anne Peltier, who negotiated the release of all the French tourists and some Australians.
She said firing had started around the tent where people were sleeping.
Twelve tourists, one of them a British national, escaped the kidnappers by fleeing into the jungle and arrived later in Kampala.
The Hutu rebels - the Interahamwe - fled Rwanda after they took part in the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 Tutsis.
Last August they abducted a number of foreign tourists who were on a mountain trek just across the border inside the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the tourists has since been released but the remainder are still in captivity.
UK-based travel firm Abercrombie and Kent, which ran a campsite where three of the tourists in the latest incident had been staying, said security issues were left mostly in the hands of local park wardens.
The Bwindi National Park covers 331 sq km and is home to an estimated 300 mountain gorillas - half the entire global population.