Nigeria Pipeline Inferno Kills 10 : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK

Nigeria pipeline inferno 'kills 10'

Hundreds died in a similar fire in 1998 By Nigeria correspondent Barnaby Phillips

Reports from southern Nigeria's Delta State say that at least 10 people have been killed after a vandalised oil pipeline caught fire.

The people killed were illegally siphoning petrol from the pipeline.

An official in Nigeria's National Petroleum Corporation told the BBC that the fire broke out on Monday on a pipeline carrying oil and petrol from the town of Warri.

At the time the fire started the ruptured pipeline was surrounded by excited villagers scooping up petrol in buckets.

The official said that firemen working with police protection had still not extinguished the blaze by Thursday afternoon.

Deliberate damage

Ten corpses were retrieved from the scene, but Nigerian newspapers say the death toll may have been as high as 17.

The official said there was no doubt that the pipeline had been deliberately damaged.

He said that the National Petroleum Corporation had recorded almost 500 acts of similar sabotage during 1999 and that this year's figure was likely to be even higher.

Two years ago hundreds of people were killed after a vandalised pipeline caught fire near the town of Jesse, also in Delta state.

The persistence of fuel shortages in many parts of Nigeria means the black market in petroleum products is still buoyant.

Impoverished communities in the oil producing Niger Delta are determined to take advantage of this, despite the terrible risks involved.

-- Rachel Gibson (, June 22, 2000


Nigeria Pipeline Fire Still Raging Friday June 23, 2000 6:10 pm

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Thick, black smoke billowed Friday from a pipeline fire in a Niger Delta village that killed as many as 28 people, news reports said.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the explosion that started the blaze Monday in Okuedjeba as people siphoned gasoline from the pipeline. Okuedjeba is 280 miles southeast of the commercial capital, Lagos.

The fire, which spread to surrounding farmland, was still raging Friday. Officials did not immediately confirm the death toll, but the Lagos Vanguard newspaper reported Friday it could be as high as 28.

There was no immediate comment from the Nigeria National Petroleum Co. which oversees the pipeline linking a refinery in the nearby town of Warri to outlets around the country.

Pipeline sabotage is common in poverty-wracked Nigeria, and vandals have triggered numerous explosions in the past.

A massive explosion and deadly fire killed at least 700 people in October 1998 in the Niger Delta town of Jesse, including many who had gathered around the area to try to collect spilling fuel.,3561, 260272,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (, June 23, 2000.

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