Massacre Britons 'Killed for Walking Too Slowly'

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Byline: NEIL SEARS

FOUR young British tourists bludgeoned to death in Uganda may have been killed for walking too slowly.

Police say the murders may have been a merciless act of vengeance by their rebel kidnappers, frustrated at the captives' inability to keep up on an exhausting trek though impenetrable jungle.

The killers are unlikely ever to be brought to justice, a Scotland Yard chief admitted yesterday at an inquest into the deaths three months ago.

Detective Superintendent Ken Woodward said they had apparently escaped over the border into the Congo and were unlikely to be caught. Another theory is that the killings were driven by the kidnappers' 'hatred for Anglo-Saxons and Americans', revealed in notes they left behind.

Relatives broke down as Mr Woodward, of the Metropolitan Police hostage unit, who was sent to investigate the slaughter, described the last moments of the four and showed a video tracing their final journey.

Tour guide Joanne Cotton, 28, of Nazeing, Essex, City worker Martin Friend, 24, of Orpington, Kent, graduate Mark Lindgren, 23, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, and Steven Roberts, 28, a pilot from Edinburgh, were among a group who had gone to the Bwindi national park on an expedition to see the famous mountain gorillas. They were asleep in their tents and thatched huts when about 150 men and women of the infamous Hutu Interahamwe - the rebel militia force responsible for the deaths of more than 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994 - stormed the camp.

'Guards saw a huge group of Interahamwe rebels descending from the hills,' Mr Wood-ward told the inquest in Crawley, Sussex.

'Interahamwe means "Those who attack together",' he explained. 'They were male and female and were armed with rifles, handguns, machetes and wooden clubs. Some wore red bandannas.' There were few guards or soldiers around because days earlier, in an

Top: Tour guide Joanne Cotton Above: City worker Martin Friend apparently deliberate ploy to draw them away, armed rebels had attacked a police station 25 miles to the south and a trading post 20 miles to the north.

One ranger was killed trying to defend the tourists but the rebels, who spoke only French and a local dialect, quickly overran the camp, They looted tents of clothing, cameras, jewellery and cash, burned vehicles and rounded up the tourists.

'No one could escape and they had no means of raising the alarm,' said Mr Woodward. …