April 6, 2019 2:43 am
Updated: April 6, 2019 1:30 pm

Okanagan family awaits call from parents who witnessed kidnapping in Uganda

Dave Jurrius became worried about his 78-year-old parents when a reporter left a message on his phone Friday morning. The Vernon man said he knew his parents were on safari in Uganda but had no idea they were with a group that was ambushed by gunmen who took two people in their group hostage.

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Martin and Barbel Jurrius go on vacation so often that their family back in B.C. don’t usually worry over the fact that the 78-year-olds don’t carry a cell phone.

But that all changed on Friday morning when calls began coming in from reporters asking to speak about a kidnapping in Uganda.

“When I first heard about it, it was just a message on the phone and I didn’t know they were okay,” their son David Jurrius told Global News at his home in Vernon. “We were worried at first.”

The seniors were on safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park on Tuesday when their group was reportedly ambushed by four gunmen.

READ MORE: B.C. couple escape armed kidnapping while on safari in Uganda

Safari leader John Paul and American tourist Kimberley Sue Endicott were taken hostage, according to Ugandan police.

Police say the kidnappers have demanded $500,000 in ransom and have been using Endicott’s phone.

After three days, neither the victims or the kidnappers have been located.

“Sounds to me the kidnappers took their keys for whatever vehicle they were in so they had to spend the night there,” their son said.

“I don’t know what that was like. I guess I’ll hear when they get home.”

Jurrius said his parents were on a month-long trip to Africa.

READ MORE: Elderly Canadian couple safe after witnessing kidnapping of tourist in Uganda

While he has yet to speak to them, he expects they will continue with their plans.

“If I paid for my safari, I’d want my safari. I’m sure my dad’s the same way. He’d just want to get what he paid for.”

Jurrius is hoping he’ll hear from them during the next leg of their trip, which is to visit family in Germany.

He said nothing like this has ever happened to them on vacation.

“They’re very lucky,” he said. “Sometimes I wish they would vacation in safer places, just go to Waikiki like everyone else. But no.

“I’m looking forward to talking to them and hearing about this adventure of theirs. That the biggest adventure they’ve ever had on their holiday, I would think.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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