The newlyweds killed in a horrific attack by an ISIS-linked terror cell in Uganda were remembered by friends and acquaintances as a “pillar of the community” and “very genuine” – as loved ones struggle in the aftermath of the couple’s grisly deaths.
David Barlow and Celia Geyer’s deaths were mourned by friends after their honeymoon safari in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park turned into a nightmare late Tuesday when their vehicle was set on fire by members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a terror group that has sworn allegiance to ISIS.
“We wake today with a heavy heart, and the deepest sorrow to hear the devastating news of the death of Dave and Celia Barlow,” Richard Davies, church warden at St. Mary’s Church in Hampstead Norreys, wrote of the couple’s killing, the BBC said.
“[David] was a pillar of the community, always prioritizing their needs,” Davies said of Barlow, who served on the parish council for over 10 years.
“Dave was brought up nearby and lived around here most of his life,” Davies added.
“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.”
“David was a very genuine person, he would say what he was thinking, he was very funny, with a great sense of humor and a genuinely nice bloke,” parish council member Toby Harris told The Guardian.
“I spent a lot of time bumping into him at the pub for a beer or two. He was approachable and down to earth.”
Barlow, 50, and Geyer lived together in Hampstead Norreys, in Berkshire, friends told The Guardian.
Barlow ran a wood yard, and was also chair of the Hampstead Norreys parish council as well as the local cricket club, the outlet reported.
Geyer was originally from South Africa, and worked as Senior Vice President of Design and Project Development for Belmond, a luxury travel firm.
She was also remembered fondly by colleagues and neighbors.
“Celia was a force of nature – full of unique skills, ideas, creativity, passion, and action,” Belmond CEO Dan Ruff wrote in a LinkedIn tribute.
“I will miss her ‘up for anything’ attitude, as we travelled the world and saw amazing things. I will miss the love she showed for her job, her team, her family, and of course, her dogs.
“A remarkable woman, a legend in her own right, gone way too soon.”
“I only met Celia once for around half an hour. She was friendly and welcoming, a really nice person,” Harris added.
“They were well thought of by people here. Members of the community traveled to be at their wedding [last weekend], which shows how popular he was.”
The Hampstead Norreys cricket club paid tribute to the couple on Facebook – and affectionately referred to Barlow as “Lord Barlow.”
“[David] 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,” the emotional statement read.
“Lord Barlow as we fondly know him by will be with us forever. The entire club’s thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Celia’s families right now.”
Tributes from those who knew the couple came after terrifying photographs showed their green safari truck still fully ablaze on a dirt road.
Ugandan President Yoweri K. Museveni previously said that the country’s HIgh Commission in the UK will reach out to Barlow and Geyer’s families in the wake of the tragedy.
Referring to the attack on the couple as a “most unfortunate and infuriating incident,” Museveni also vowed that the terrorists “will pay with their own wretched lives.”
The ADF was founded in Uganda, but has been based in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the late 1990s.
The group swore loyalty to ISIS four years ago.
In Dec. 2021, Uganda and the DRC launched a joint operation to eliminate the group from the eastern Congo – resulting in the death of over 560 fighters.
Museveni, however, acknowledged that the group that attacked Barlow and Geyer slipped through “gaps” in the official patrol tasked with guarding tourists in the park.
In light of Barlow and Geyer’s deaths, Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has officially warned against all but essential travel to the Queen Elizabeth National park.
With Post wires
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