A petrol pipeline explosion that occurred at Rumuekpe community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers Stat has let no fewer than 20 persons dead.
The incident happened on Thursday and has been blamed on oil bunkering activities, while community sources claim that youths of the community were fond of siphoning petroleum products from many pipelines located on the stretch of the adjourning villages within the community.
Mr Chikwem Godwin, a resident of the community, said that the death toll may be more than 20 persons.
He said, “I can confirm to you that more than 20 persons died in that very incident.
“That particular place where this incident occurred is very notorious for bunkering activities. Youths from various communities gather there to carry out criminal activities of cutting oil pipes.
“The place is the centre of oil bunkering activities. There are so many oil, petrol and gas pipeline that crisscross the community. The pipelines are owned by some multi-national oil companies.
“NLNG also have their gas pipeline crisscross along the stretch of the community. Those involved in this criminal activity may have ruptured petrol pipeline which ignited fire and burnt to death so many persons. This incident may have affected many families from all the neighboring communities as many youths involved in this nefarious activity come from different community.”
Spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnmadi Omoni on his own part confirmed the story but said he is yet to ascertain the number of deaths.
Omoni disclosed that police officers have been deployed in the area to prevent a breakdown of law and order.