Tributes paid to newlyweds killed in Uganda terrorist attack

David Barlow and Celia Geyer. Composite: PA

British businessman David Barlow and South-African-born wife Celia were killed by group linked to Islamic State

Tributes have been paid to a couple who were killed on their honeymoon in Uganda in a “cowardly terrorist attack”.

British businessman David Barlow, his South-African-born wife Celia and their Ugandan guide were driving through the Queen Elizabeth national park on Tuesday when they were attacked and killed by a group linked to Islamic State.

The couple, who lived in Hampstead Norreys, near Newbury in Berkshire, were married in South Africa on Saturday and had been in Uganda on their honeymoon, according to local residents.

Mr Barlow ran a wood yard in nearby Hermitage and was chair of Hampstead Norreys parish council and the local cricket club. Reports said his wife was formerly Celia Geyer and was a hotel executive.

Richard Davies, warden at St Mary’s Church in the village, where candles were lit after the attack, told the PA news agency: “They’ll be dreadfully missed.

“Dave was brought up nearby and lived around here most of his life.

“He was one of those people who is a huge part of the community, he’s very well-liked, involved in sports clubs, involved in all aspects of village life.”

Ugandan police and the president have said the killers were members of the Allied Democratic Forces, a group with ties to IS.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni said on social media: “It was a cowardly act on the part of the terrorists attacking innocent civilians and tragic for the couple who were newlyweds and visiting Uganda on their honeymoon. Of course, these terrorists will pay with their own wretched lives.”

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Museveni added Ugandan authorities will ensure these “mistakes” will not happen again and explained how remnants of the rebel group were able to carry out the attack at the wildlife park.

“There were a few gaps in the handling of these remnants. UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) was guarding tourists once they were in the park. However, apparently, the tourists were arriving and departing individually. It is this gap that they used,” he wrote on social media.

After the attack, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office updated its travel advice for Uganda, warning against “all but essential travel” to Queen Elizabeth national park.

A statement on its website said: “If you are currently in the park, you should follow the advice of local security authorities. If you are able to do so safely, you should consider leaving the area.”

Dozens of people in the community had travelled to the Barlows’ wedding ceremony.
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Toby Harris, a member of the parish council, said: “David was a very genuine person, he would say what he was thinking, he was very funny, with a great sense of humour and a genuinely nice bloke.

“I spent a lot of time bumping into him at the pub for a beer or two. He was approachable and down-to-earth.

“I only met Celia once for around half an hour, she was friendly and welcoming, a really nice person.

“They were well thought of by people here, members of the community travelled to be at their wedding, which shows how popular he was.”

Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club also paid tribute to the couple, affectionately referring to the businessman as “Lord Barlow”.

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It said: “He was at the time this incident occurred with the most important person in his life, a woman who we all knew so well, as Dave was so proud to share all of Celia’s achievements.

“She too was an amazing human being, who will be desperately missed.”

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