Tourists raped and butchered in horrific act of revenge on Britain

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The Independent Online
EIGHT WESTERN tourists, including four Britons, were raped, tortured and butchered by their Hutu kidnappers yesterday in an act of revenge against Britain and America.

Survivors of the Ugandan safari kidnapping said the Hutus selected the British and American tourists, releasing French and some other nationalities.

One of the dead Britons was named as Mark Lindgren, 23, a university graduate from St Albans, Hertfordshire, on holiday in Uganda before starting his first job. His parents, Ann and John, paid tribute to their son. His father said: "Mark was kind-hearted, generous, bright and loved life. He was respected by the people he worked with and he had a bright future ahead of him."

Four other victims were named as Americans Rob Haubner, 48, and his wife Susan Miller, 42, and Rhonda Avis, 27, and Michelle Strathern, 26, both from New Zealand.

"The rebels were looking for Americans and British," said Hussein Kivumbi, the manager of one of five camps raided by the Hutu rebels. "They killed four women and four men with knives, machetes and axes. There were no gunshots. They wanted them to move fast, but some couldn't. So they killed with machetes one man and one woman who couldn't walk. Then they killed another three. There was no rescue. The soldiers found the bodies inside Congo, and then they found the six who were released and came down the mountain."

The six captives who escaped said the killings came after the women had been raped. Mr Kivumbi said the rebels left written messages on the massacred bodies, reading: "Americans and British, we don't want you on our land. You support our enemy [President Yoweri] Museveni [of Uganda]."

The French deputy ambassador to Uganda, Anne Peltier, was told by the kidnappers: "[We] are not happy with the Americans and British because they have preferred to support the Tutsi ethnic minority against the Hutu majority."

Last night Tony Blair, on a trip to Italy, called the killing "an act of wickedness simply beyond belief". He pledged to do "everything in Britain's power to pursue justice".

Hours after Ms Peltier and the other freed tourists fled, the Hutus murdered eight of the 14 remaining hostages. They were killed in the same way as most of the 800,000 Tutsis massacred by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

Six tourists escaped - believed to be two Britons, an American, a Swiss woman, a New Zealander and a Canadian. They are in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

The High Commissioner in Kampala, Michael Cook, had met the Ugandan Foreign Minister to demand that there be no armed rescue operation. He said: "Reports of clashes between the army and the rebels are still unconfirmed. Our concern now is with these survivors ... as most of them are in a very traumatised state."

Last night the bodies of the victims lay in the Mulago hospital morgue in Kampala.

It is thought 31 tourists were initially abducted in co- ordinated raids at three camp sites in the Impenetrable Forest in the Bwindi National Park in south-western Uganda in the early hours of Monday. Four Ugandans - a game warden and three of his rangers - were killed as they tried to protect the tourists.

It is believed that the rebels split their 14 remaining captives into three groups and led them into the forest.

Five bodies were later found at one spot and three in another. The six who survived were all in the same group and either escaped or negotiated their release.

The campsites were owned by three operators. One of the companies, Acacia Expeditions, from London, said last night that 15 of its clients had "been involved".