A Ugandan government official has criticized Donald Trump for complaining about the country’s internal security systems in the wake of the kidnapping of an American tourist, saying, “we don’t need his lecture.”
As NBC News reports, a “war of words” of sorts has erupted between the U.S. and the African country following the kidnapping and attempted ransom of Kimberly Sue Endicott.
As CBS News reported on Tuesday, Endicott was on safari in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park last week when she and her tour guide were abducted by bandits. They were forced to walk across the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they were held in captivity for five days. Their kidnappers demanded a ransom of $500,000.
Endicott was released this week after an undisclosed amount of money was paid, according to a companion CBS News report. How much of that ransom was paid, and where it came from, remains unclear. The Ugandan government, for its part, says that its policy is to not give money to kidnappers, lest it encourages more kidnappings. Endicott and her family have not discussed the terms of her release. The 56-year-old is not believed to have been harmed during her ordeal.
After being released, the American woman made her way to the American embassy and is now on her way home.
On Monday, Trump tweeted that Uganda needs to make finding the kidnappers a priority, lest the African country jeopardizes its much-needed tourism dollars.
“Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American Tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there. Bring them to justice openly and quickly!”
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo was having none of that. In a video posted to Twitter, he criticized Trump for getting out of his lane.
“We don’t need his lecture.”
Opondo also noted in a tweet that there are more gun deaths in the U.S. than there are kidnappings in Uganda, yet people still come to the States as tourists.
“@realDonaldTrump There are more gun deaths in the #US than #kidnaps in Uganda. Nevertheless many people still flock to the #US. Uganda continues to strengthen its security and eliminate criminality with impunity.”
Similarly, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni noted that some 1.7 million tourists visited Uganda last year, none of whom were victims of kidnapping.
Eight of the alleged kidnappers have been arrested and are in custody, according to a Tuesday CNN report. It remains unclear if officials are searching for more alleged kidnappers.