American tourist kidnapped in Uganda reveals inner dialogue: "How do I get them to shoot me?"

"Pure Fear": Uganda kidnapping survivor speaks

Last Updated Apr 25, 2019 1:42 PM EDT

An American tourist kidnapped in East Africa three weeks ago has opened up about the harrowing ordeal for the first time to "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King. Kimberly Endicott was on a safari vacation in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park when four men abducted her and her guide. She was held for almost five days and then released after a ransom was paid

Endicott explained what was going through her head during those five days in captivity, describing to King that she was "constantly" worried if and how these men might attack her. Endicott said she even tried to come up with ways to ensure a swift death. 

"What was the dialogue in your head about that?" King asked.

"Well, um. How do I get them to shoot me? And just shoot me instead of dismembering me or raping me? How do I do that? What can I do that will actually create that and I could never actually come up with a strategy for that. If I ran, well that would just make them angry. And I think I would get treated pretty badly if I tried to run," she said. 

The Ugandan government insists its policy is not to pay ransoms, but sources have confirmed that some money was handed over to secure the pair's release. Though many of the details surrounding Endicott and her guide's abduction and release remain a mystery, the California native described the first moments of what would become a terrifying, five-day ordeal. 

"We're sitting there and all of a sudden four men come out of a perfectly square bush that's in front of us," Endicott said. "And my first thought was there must be something happening behind us and that these are rangers."

She thought that because at first because they were armed.

"I've been gorilla trekking with rangers that have guns," she said. "So that was my first thought."

Then she took a closer look.

"Looking at them it became apparent pretty quickly that, no, that's not what this is. They were not in uniform. They were ragtag. They were a little bit of everything," she said. "And then they made us get out of the vehicle."

Tourist kidnapped in Uganda reveals inner dialogue: "How do I get them to shoot me?"

At that point she said the four men had their guns pointed at them.

"They make us get out of the vehicle… they make us sit on the ground and that's when things go very, I don't know how to describe it -- there's really not a word to describe what that felt like. Pure fear. But that almost doesn't do it justice," Endicott said.

"Terror?" King asked.

"That's closer maybe. But this weird whiteness. Brightness. It's, again, I don't really have a good word for it but I just sat there and just faced forward and sat there and then they went in, and ransacked the vehicle and took out whatever was, anything of value to them, and then came back out," she recalled. "There was a lot of commotion." 

She said the four kidnappers made her and her guide sit, but an older couple that was also on the tour were allowed to keep standing.

"They were like in their later 70s and the gentleman had a cane," she said. "And they let them stay and then, boom, and it felt like a vortex sucking us in."

Asked by King what she meant by that, Endicott said it was hard to put into words the sensation she felt as she was whisked away by the armed men.

"It just really, when I think back about it, it felt like, 'swoosh,' and that's it. We're off."

For more of Gayle King's interview with Kimberly Endicott tune into "CBS This Morning" on Friday, April 26.