, ASABA, May 25 – An oil pipeline explosion in southern Nigeria killed at least two people and injured several others, witnesses said Wednesday.
Nigeria\’s southern Delta state police spokesman Charles Muka said suspected vandals triggered the pipeline blast and fire Tuesday in the state\’s Amukpe-Sapele but said he had no information on casualty figures.
"There was a pipeline fire at Amukpe-Sapele on Tuesday. It was caused by suspected vandals. I have no information on casualties and no arrests have been made so far," he told AFP by telephone from Asaba, the state capital.
Newspapers Wednesday reported various casualty figures from the explosion but an AFP correspondent on the scene was told by witnesses that two people had died.
The vandalised pipeline carries petroleum product from Warri refinery to a depot in Benin City, capital of nearby Edo State.
About 100 suspected fuel thieves were burnt to death in 1998 following a pipeline explosion in Jesse village in Delta state.
Gangs siphon crude oil and refined fuels from illegally tapped pipelines in the creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta.
Proceeds from fuel smuggling finance armed river pirate gangs in the region, while hundreds of lives are lost every year in pipeline explosions.