Image source, Uganda Police Force
Image caption, The attackers set the victims’ vehicle on fire after killing them
By Ruth Comerford
Friends have paid tribute to a couple killed on their honeymoon alongside their guide in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The couple have been named locally as David and Celia Barlow, from Hampstead Norreys, near Newbury in Berkshire.
The village’s cricket club said they will be “desperately missed” while the parish council called Mr Barlow a “pillar of the community”.
Uganda’s police said their vehicle was set alight after they were killed.
Richard Davies, church warden at St Mary’s Church in Hampstead Norreys, said the news was “incomprehensible”.
“We wake today with a heavy heart, and the deepest sorrow to hear the devastating news of the death of Dave and Celia Barlow,” Mr Davies said. “Words cannot express how to react to this dreadful news.”
Hampstead Norreys Parish Council described Mr Barlow, a British national, as an “exceptional chairman” who served the council for more than a decade.
“He was a pillar of the community, always prioritising their needs,” it said.
Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club also paid tribute to the couple, affectionately describing Mr Barlow as “Lord Barlow” and describing Mrs Barlow – who was born in South Africa – as “an amazing human who will be desperately missed”.
In a statement, the travel company Belmond, who referred to her as Celia Geyer, said she was a “true pioneer at heart and a highly respected leader in our industry”.
Toby Harris, a member of the village parish council, said Mr Barlow “was a very genuine person”.
“I spent a lot of time bumping into him at the pub for a beer or two. He was approachable and down to earth.”
In a post on social media Andrew Mitchell, the UK minister of state for development and Africa, said he was “shocked and saddened by the horrific attack”.
“My thoughts are with the victims and their families,” he wrote. “British nationals in Uganda should follow travel advice.”
Image source, Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club
Image caption, Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club affectionately named David Barlow as ‘Lord Barlow’
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni said on X, formerly Twitter, that the Ugandan High Commission in the UK would provide support to the families of the murdered couple.
Police said joint forces were pursuing suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group, an IS-linked Islamist group which traces its roots to Uganda but operates mainly in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The two countries have intensified operations targeting the group in recent months, and the incident occurred near Uganda’s border with DRC.
On Wednesday, IS claimed responsibility for the attack via its Telegram channels, without providing evidence.
Two days earlier, Uganda’s president said police had foiled a plot, allegedly planned by ADF militants, to bomb churches in the country’s central Butambala district.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said on X: “We have registered a cowardly terrorist attack on two foreign tourists and a Ugandan in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
“The three were killed, and their safari vehicle burnt.”
He added the police were “aggressively pursuing” the suspected rebels, and expressed “our deepest condolences to the families of the victims”.
The police force also posted a photograph of a green four-wheel-drive vehicle on fire.
The UK Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Uganda, warning the “attackers remain at large”.
It is advising against “all but essential travel” to Queen Elizabeth National Park, adding that anyone in the park should “follow the advice of local security authorities”.
“If you are able to do so safely, you should consider leaving the area,” it said.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are providing consular assistance to the family of a British national following an incident at Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. We are in close contact with the local authorities.
“British nationals in the area should follow our travel advice and contact us if they require assistance.”