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Over 50 killed in explosion at illegal oil refinery in Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria — More than 50 individuals had been killed and lots of injured when an explosion rocked an unlawful oil refinery in southeastern Nigeria, state officers and police mentioned Saturday.

The demise toll could also be greater than 100, in keeping with a report within the Lagos-based Punch newspaper. The hearth was reported to have unfold to close by properties.

The hearth broke out Friday night time and shortly unfold to 2 gasoline storage areas on the unlawful crude oil refinery, inflicting the advanced to be “engulfed by fire which spread rapidly” throughout the space, mentioned Declan Emelumba, the Imo State commissioner for data.

The speedy reason for the explosion and the extent of the deaths, accidents and harm had been being investigated, Emelumba mentioned.

Multiple movies posted on social media confirmed a grotesque scene, with individuals’s charred stays lowered to skeletons and cinders. The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm them.

“A lot of people died. The people who died are all illegal operators,” mentioned Michael Abattam, spokesman of the Imo State Police Command.

The Imo state authorities was searching for the proprietor of the refinery the place the explosion occurred and declared him a wished particular person, an official mentioned.

Illegal refineries are widespread in Nigeria, the place shady enterprise operators typically keep away from laws and taxes by establishing refineries in distant areas, out of sight of authorities.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of crude oil nevertheless it has only a few official refineries and in consequence most gasoline and different fuels are imported, creating a gap for the unlawful refinery operators.

The observe is so widespread that affects crude oil manufacturing within the oil-rich Niger Delta area.

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