Some 200 dead in Nigeria blast

Blast caused by people tapping into the line in an attempt to steal oil.

oil pipeline fire 88 (photo credit: )
oil pipeline fire 88
(photo credit: )
A gas pipeline exploded in Nigeria as villagers collected fuel from the ruptured conduit, killing between 150 and 200 people and leaving charred bodies scattered around the blast site. Dozens of burned corpses could be seen lying on the ground at the waterside village of Ilado, about 45 kilometers east of Lagos, Nigeria's main city, and police said dozens had perished in the flames. "Between 150 and 200 people died," Lagos Police Commissioner Emmanuel Adebayo told reporters. Rescue workers dug a ditch near the exploded pipeline and Adebayo said the bodies would be buried in a common grave. "They are going to be given a mass burial," Adebayo said. The impoverished people of Africa's oil giant often tap into pipelines, seeking fuel for cooking or resale on the black market. The highly volatile petroleum can ignite, incinerating those collecting it. In September 2004, an oil pipeline exploded near Lagos as thieves tried to siphon oil from it, with up to 50 people perishing in the flames. A 1998 pipeline blast killed over 1,000 in southern Nigeria. Most of Nigeria's oil is pumped in the southern Niger Delta region, far from Lagos. Pipes carry the crude to refineries across the vast nation. Nigeria, which normally pumps 2.5 million barrels of crude per day, is Africa's largest producer and the fifth-largest source of imports to the United States.