Explosion in Nigeria: more than 50 missing

In the South of Nigeria more than 50 people were missing after an explosion of an oil pipeline. The cause was a leak in the pipeline.

A fierce fire arose immediately after the explosion. Bystanders could make some images. It is not yet clear how many deaths or injuries have fallen during the explosion.

The blast on early Friday caused massive oil spillage in the Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa state, the Nembe Chiefs Council spokesman, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio, told The Associated Press.

The Nembe trunk line is operated by the Port Harcourt-based Aiteo Group and carries crude to the Bonny export terminal. Aiteo had yet to comment on the explosion. It was not immediately clear if the pipeline had been shut down.

Video obtained by the AP shows a large blaze from the ruptured pipeline at night as villagers look on. “If they turn off the oil well from the station, the pressure inside the pipeline would reduce, causing the flame to burn out,” one person is heard in the background explaining.

A local parliamentarian tells AP that a huge amount of oil has leaked. The pipeline is owned by Agip, Oando and Shell. The extent of the damage to the pipeline is not clear.

The Niger Delta is highly polluted. Nigerian oil companies usually assert that the majority of oil spills are caused by sabotage, theft and illegal refining.

Deadly accidents caused by leaking pipelines are alarmingly common. In January, an overturned oil tanker exploded in Odukpani in Cross River state while dozens of people were scooping up the leaking fuel. Police said at least 12 people were killed while some witnesses estimated up to 60 were dead.

Explosion in Nigeria: more than 50 missing

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