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The Bwindi Forest Massacre in 1999

The Bwindi Forest Massacre in 1999

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The gorilla treks through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda to see the rare mountain gorillas are exclusive forays that begin in a tranquil agricultural valley. The tranquil was shattered on Monday when 8 tourists including an American couple were hacked or killed top death in the forest by a gang of rebels. These were armed with automatic rifles, machetes and spears, these were said to be remnants of the ethnic militias that carried out this mass killing in Rwanda in 1994.

There were four Ugandan park employees that were killed in the campsites. These foreign victims included four Britons and two New Zealanders as well as Americans, who were executives for the Intel Corporation, the computer chip manufacturer based in Oregon. Their heads were crashed in and deep slash and there was an American tour leader that was released by the attackers after a forced march into the forest. One of the women was raped prior to being killed.

The attack on a group of 31 tourists appeared to be related to the violence that has beset central Africa for years, seeping over the national boarders linking Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. The survivors said as many as 150 ragtag soldiers materialized out of the trees and sought out Americans and Britons among the tourists. These soldiers were ethnic Hutu rebels and this was according to the State Department and Survivors. In 1994 many Hutu and civilians fled nearby Rwanda after the killings of More than 500,000 r5ival Tutsis and the moderate Hutus. Some of the rebels have regrouped in the bush and have carried out attacks, opposing American and British support for the Ugandan Military and others seen as sympathizing with the Tutsi.

There was the Oregon couple who died were identified as Robert Haubner 48 and Susan Miller 42, who had spent honeymoon in Africa and had returned with some friends from intel for their third tour. These were great employees who had distinguished careers. They loved to travel around the world.

There were also two New Zealand tourists who were killed. Among the Britons killed was Mark Liindgren 23 who was recent graduate of Nottingham University who was on a three months safari in Africa before starting a career. The other Briton who was killed was Steven Roberts of Edinburgh. Even though the border with Congo is easily within an hour from the entrance to the park, the violence seemed far away as the camp was coming to life at 6: 45 am. Most of the tourists had just woken up to prepare for the trek when the rebels burst into the camp with a blast of grenades and automatic weapons fire. The wardens and the game rangers were also killed in the initial assault.

These rebels looted the building and set a few on fire and torching the vehicles they came across. These same rebels herded 31 tourists into the Abercrombie and Kent encampment and began stripping them off their valuables. They tortured the tourists and allowed some to walk bare footed with in the forest.

The western governments have already warned the tourists about visiting western Uganda because of the rebels and bandit activity near the border with Congo. Until now, Bwindi has been considered safe. The attack struck a big blow at Uganda to put off travel to the region until further notice and at least many companies had to suspend trips to the region until further notice.

Acacia expeditions had its 6 tourists killed and these were over Landers who are budget tourists that spend weeks travelling across Africa in large open trucks. However, Bwindi currently is a safe place to all tourists since then security has been tightened and the national park is safe for the coming tourists. There is also tourism police to give more security to all protected areas.

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