Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, March 2, 1999 Published at 15:38 GMT

World: Africa

Kidnap tourist tells of ordeal

The tourists were on a trip to see mountain gorillas

One of the tourists kidnapped by armed rebels in Uganda has told how her captors singled out American and British nationals.

Linda Adams, from California, escaped by faking an asthma attack as she was marched into the jungle.

[ image: Mrs Adams: My father warned me not to go]
Mrs Adams: My father warned me not to go
But eight of her fellow tourists were killed by the kidnappers - members of the Hutu death squads involved in the Rwanda genocide in 1994.

Mrs Adams told how around 100 heavily-armed rebels attacked her campsite in Bwindi National Park at 0645 (0345 GMT) on Monday after sweeping down from the surrounding hills.

Separated Americans and Britons

She said they quickly separated Americans and Britons from the group and released most of the others.

Mrs Adams told the Evening Standard newspaper in London that the rebels had tortured the British.

"The group holding the British people treated them quite badly," she said. "A British guy was sitting next to me. I could see he had purple toenails from being beaten."

After seizing their hostages the rebels marched them up a mountain path.

Linda Adams describes the kidnapping
But Mrs Adams said they let her go when she faked an asthma attack about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) into the hike.

"I told them I had asthma and they let me go. Did they think I might hinder them climbing? They could have shot me but they didn't shoot me. I didn't have my shoes and they gave me my shoes to walk.''

Gun fight

Mrs Adams, a businesswoman, was shocked when told some of her fellow hostages had been killed.

[ image: A rare picture of Interahamwe rebels]
A rare picture of Interahamwe rebels
She described how she had heard heavy gunfire as the rebels overran a park rangers' post near her camp shortly before she was seized.

"The sound in the valley, the vibration, was quite a shock," she said. "I heard the gunshots and some noises. I got out of my tent and I walked around the corner to the front and I got caught.

"I saw gentlemen running with guns and four of them came over and grabbed me, all the money that I had, and told me to sit down," she said.

"After a while they brought some of the other captives ... from the other camps, marched them up and asked them what nationality they were. If they were British or American, they were sent to my group.''

Jon Leyne reports on the welfare of the released prisoners
Mrs Adams said the French-speaking rebels were well-organised and all carried guns.

The tourists had travelled to the game park in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to track rare mountain gorillas.

Mrs Adams said her father had warned her not to go on the trip but she ignored him. "It wasn't going to happen to me," she added.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

02 Mar 99 | Africa
Interahamwe: A serious military threat

02 Mar 99 | Africa
Uganda tourists die in gunfight

02 Mar 99 | UK
Britons among Uganda dead

16 Feb 99 | Africa
Congo refugees flee atrocities

09 Dec 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
Fleeing attack - from all sides

28 Nov 98 | Africa
Africa's regional interests in Congo

19 May 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
Gorilla-trekking takes off

Internet Links

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Ugandaweb - Bwindi National Park

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief