The unpardonable murder of a hapless child by Millitants

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As the son and daughter of a Royal Dutch Shell staff in the city of Port Harcourt, one of Nigeria’s oil-producing cities, walked to school, the Niger Delta militants attacked them. The girl was shot dead and her brother carried away.

According to eyewitnesses, the boy and girl identified as Emmanuel Awonusi and Oduayo Awonusi respectively, were walking to school when a bus pulled beside them. Two gunmen came out of the vehicle and grabbed the boy. His sister began to struggle with the men, screaming for help. Nobody could approach the gunmen. The girl was shot and the men drove away with the boy. When the men had driven away, passerby and witnesses ran towards the girl and rushed her to the hospital. But she died before they found a hospital. The girl was just 11 years old and her brother was only 9.

Those living in the swampy delta are struggling to make a living from farming or fishing, while every week more join those who have moved to Port Harcourt to find work. The oil rich city is full of young men looking for a way to make money. Some will join gangs of armed robbers – known as cultists – whose violence regularly shuts parts of the city down.

Child Kidnapping in the Niger delta is not a new phenomenon, in 2007 rebel groups kidnapped a three-year-old daughter of a British bar-owner in Port Harcourt. Recently some faction of the rebels seized a reverend Father from his church on Sunday. But like the british girl and other kidnapped foreigners, The reverend Father was released. It is understood that no ransom was paid for his release.

Civil society leaders say the government cannot bring peace and security to the Delta without bringing significant infrastructural development and jobs to the region first. Unemployment is rampant.

But while some militant groups have claimed to be fighting for a fairer share of Nigeria’s oil wealth, some groups have resulted into kidnapping, extortion and oil theft to make quick money.

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