30 killed in Nigeria oil pipeline fire



Lagos: At least 30 people, suspected to be fuel thieves, died in a pipeline fire in Nigeria, Xinhua reported Sunday.

Police said the incident occurred in Arepo village in Ogun state.

Friday Ibadin, a police official in-charge of the Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, said the fire was caused Saturday by vandals who tried to siphon petroleum products from a ruptured pipeline of state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Police were on the trail of a few survivors who fled the scene.

Ibadin said one of the arrested suspects told police that many of his mates were killed in the explosion, while some others injured might still be alive.

Another survivor said more than 50 people were involved in the act.

Stealing fuel from pipelines is very common in Nigeria, Africa's leading oil producer. Mismanagement and corruption has hit the refining sector, causing chronic fuel shortages, Xinhua said.

Nearly 300 people were burnt to death in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos in December 2006, as they scooped fuel from a vandalised pipeline.

IANS