Many people have been feared dead following the explosion of a petrol pipeline at Rumuekpe community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The incident which occurred on Thursday October 21 has been blamed on oil bunkering activities, and community sources told Daily Trust 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.
A resident of the community, Mr Chikwem Godwin alleged that more than 20 persons may have died in the incident.
“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 activities 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 activities comes from different community.”
Another resident of Rumuekpe who gave his name as Amadi, said he saw five corpses burnt beyond recognition.
Rivers State Police Command Public Relation Officer, SP Nnmadi Omoni on his own part confirmed the story but said he is yet to ascertain the number of deaths.
Omoni said police officers have been deployed in the area to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order.