*As damaged pipeline bursts into flames
BY SAMUEL OYADONGHA
Yenagoa—Providence averted what could have been the tragic death of some suspected oil thieves in the deep swamp of Brass in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, when a pipeline they were tampering with burst and went up in flames.
The near tragic incident, it was learnt, occurred on the Obama-Brass flow line owned by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.
The suspected oil thieves believed to be part of the syndicate involved in illegal bunkering on the Brass Island were said to have attempted to siphon crude oil from the facility, when it went up in flames ostensibly due to the pressure exerted on it.
The metal object which they used to drill the pipeline reportedly caused a spark and caused inferno in the area.
The suspects were said to have escaped death by the whiskers as they beat a quick retreat into the mangrove swamp.
A security source, who spoke under anonymity, said “the fire was heavy. But the vandals escaped. They must have sustained injuries because of the way the incident occurred.”
According to him, “they were tampering with the pipeline when it burst into flames. The affected pipeline belonged to Agip. Officials of Agip had mobilised to the site of the incident.
Contacted, the Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the incident occurred at a previously reported breach point on the pipeline.