Over 100 people were killed overnight in a blast at an illegal oil refinery plant in Nigeria’s Rivers state, a government official said.
“The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected over 100 people who were burnt beyond recognition,” they added.
According to the Nigerian tabloid ‘Punch’, the explosion also wrecked six vehicles and caused widespread panic in the area.
According to sources in the Nigerian publication ‘Daily Post,’ another 150 persons would have been hurt.
A ‘Punch’ special envoy visited the area on Saturday and claimed to have witnessed at least 50 corpses that were burnt to the point of being unrecognizable.
Goodluck Opiah, the state’s commissioner of petroleum resources, said that the regional administration has started a manhunt for the owner of the illegal refinery, whom he identified as Okenze Onyenwoke.
In the Niger Delta, unemployment and poverty have made illegal crude refining an attractive profession, but with terrible consequences.
Crude oil is extracted through a network of pipes controlled by large oil firms and processed into products in improvised tanks.
The risky method has resulted in a number of fatalities and has damaged a region already plagued by oil leaks in fields, streams, and lagoons.
It comes after Islamic State claimed responsibility for an explosion in the Nigerian state capital of Taraba, Jalingo, last night. According to authorities, the explosion injured 11 individuals, including children.
According to a witness, another explosion occurred in the city Friday night in a bar just minutes after it closed for the day.
There were no casualties, according to Danzumi Ishaku of the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, but a motorcycle parked close was wrecked.
Taraba, which had previously been mainly isolated from suspected terror incidents, has seen an increase in them in the last year.
Image Credit: AP
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