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U.S. survivor sorry that Ugandans will suffer loss of tourism

SHARE U.S. survivor sorry that Ugandans will suffer loss of tourism

KAMPALA, Uganda -- After surviving a rebel attack that killed eight foreign tourists, American Elizabeth Garland left Uganda's remote jungle with a sinking heart rather than a sense of relief.

The tourists who had escaped capture by Rwandan rebels Monday couldn't wait to get away.But the Ohio-born anthropologist and Fulbright scholar, who was living in Uganda's Buhoma region to study the effects of wildlife tourism on local communities, is leaving behind her friends, knowing they face a bleak future without tourism revenue.

"My heart was sinking," Garland told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I knew it was going to be the last time that any Bazungu (white people) were going to be in Buhoma for a really long time and how heartbreaking that was to people already trying to deal with this incredibly traumatizing thing."

Garland hid in her tent when rebels stormed several camps in Bwindi National Park on Monday, firing guns and throwing grenades that "sounded like the Fourth of July."

She knew that she was lucky. Fourteen tourists were abducted and marched through Uganda's Impenetrable Forest on the Congolese border. Along the way, eight were hacked to death with machetes and axes. Six were released.

Still, the experience shook her, and she feels Ugandan residents are also suffering a devastating impact, one that is being ignored by a world interest drawn almost exclusively by the foreigners killed.

Even as she spoke, world leaders continued to voice their condemnation of the slaughter, while the Ugandan army intensified a joint manhunt with Rwandan forces, chasing down the rebels based in eastern Congo and vowing to destroy them.

Soldiers patrolled the partially burned and looted camps Thursday, while further north at the Rwenzori Mountains another rebel group, the Allied Democratic Front, launched its second attack in two days. At least five people were killed, a military officer said.

A private radio report said letters were distributed Thursday warning of fresh rebel attacks but did not specify who would be targeted or which of three major rebel groups terrorizing Uganda may have drafted the warning.

With FBI investigators already in place and British detectives to arrive Friday, the bodies of the two Americans, four Britons and two New Zealanders were put into coffins to be sent home Friday or Saturday.

The Rwandan rebels were among Hutu fighters who fled Rwanda in 1994 after killing more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.