By Emma Amaize and Akpokona Omafuaire
SAPELE – CONFUSION reigned over casualties in a fire explosion caused by vandals suspected to be scooping petroleum product from a vandalized Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation pipeline at Eko-Ovwore , Amukpe community in Delta state, in the early hours of Tuesday.
While the Delta state police spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka who confirmed the explosion to Vanguard said the police were not aware of any death as 5.00 pm, an eye witness said that two persons were killed, while some persons claimed that between 10 -20 persons were killed and the corpses washed into the Ethiope River.
What is, however, clear was that owing to the scarcity of petroleum products, vandals ruptured an NNPC pipeline, suspected to be conveying petroleum from Warri to Benin City and were busy scooping product when the explosion occurred.
Vanguard was told that there was stampede in the vandalized section of the pipeline, as the vandals were struggling to scoop the product and all of sudden; there was a loud bang, followed by a deafening explosion and large ball of flames ascending the sky.
Rescue officials did not arrive on time but as at press time, it was understood that NNPC and PPMC officials have found their way to the area with firemen to put off the fire.