Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

AP Worldstream: Nigerian gunmen demand ransom for British girl

Published: Jul 08, 2007

Nigerian gunmen who kidnapped a British girl have demanded a ransom, her mother said, while police say she may be released soon.

Oluchi Hill, a Nigerian, refused to say how much cash was sought for the safe return of Margaret Hill, 3, or who contacted her.

“Where do you expect me to get that type of money?” she told The Associated Press, weeping during the short conversation Saturday.

Police, meanwhile, said they had received information that the girl may be released by Sunday, said police commissioner Felix Ogbaudu, in charge of the oil industry center of Port Harcourt, where Margaret was kidnapped on her way to school Thursday. He did not elaborate.

President Umaru Yar’Adua has instructed security forces to ensure her safe release. Police say they will not use force to free the girl, seized by unknown gunmen while the car taking her to school idled in traffic.

Rivers state Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu reported no breakthroughs Saturday.

The president “has directed the security agencies to make every possible effort to ensure that she is returned to her family unharmed and he remains in touch with all efforts being made to secure the girl’s release,” according to a statement from his office.

Oluchi Hill had previously said her daughter was being fed only bread and water and that the gunmen said they would kill the girl if the parents did not meet their demands _ including one that the father take his daughter’s place.

Her British father, Mike Hill, has lived in Nigeria for years and works in the energy industry. He also runs a popular nightspot in Port Harcourt. The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that he was ill and had been due to fly to Britain for unspecified treatment.

The region’s main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, said its fighters would help search for the missing child, and echoed the revulsion many Nigerians feel toward the kidnapping of children.

The group has carried out kidnappings to press its demands for a greater political voice and for the region that produces Nigeria’s oil to see more of the wealth it generates. But other kidnappings are purely criminal, aimed only at extracting ransom. There was no indication that politics played a part in the girl’s seizure.

It was the first abduction of a foreign child in the increasingly lawless oil region of Africa’s biggest oil producer.

Kidnappings in the region have focused mostly on foreign, male workers of international companies presumed to have the resources for ransom payments.

More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped since militants stepped up their activities against the oil industry in late 2005 and more than 100 expatriates have been seized this year alone as criminal gangs took up the practice.

Two hostages, one British and one Nigerian, died last year when military patrols crossed the hostage takers’ paths and a gunbattle ensued.

Hostage takers routinely issue threats over the welfare of their captives, but no hostage has ever been seriously injured by kidnappers while in captivity. More than a dozen foreigners are currently in captivity, including five seized Wednesday from a Royal Dutch Shell oil rig.

Two children of wealthy Nigerians have been seized in the restive Niger Delta in recent weeks. Both were released within days, without injury. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

0 Comments on “AP Worldstream: Nigerian gunmen demand ransom for British girl”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: