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5 dead and many properties destroyed after explosion rocks illegal bunkering site in Imo



No fewer than five persons have been killed and many properties destroyed in an oil-producing community of Obitti in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State following an explosion that occurred at an illegal bunkering site in the area.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at Ndorama Pipeline at the Obitti Rubber Estate of Ohaji/Egbema Local Government of the state.

In a viral video on social media, an eyewitness said, “Vandals came to vandalise pipeline right of way. This place is called Ndorama Pipeline, right of way.

“They drove to the place in a tanker suspected to be used for the illegal bunkering. They dug deep into the ground, located the pipeline, and from where they tapped and emptied the oil into a tanker parked inside the bush.

“They used long hoses, connected them to the pipe but unfortunately, luck ran out of them. It exploded and killed many of them. You can see some of them burnt to ashes. Some of them, their bodies are still burning. The tanker is still burning.”

According to villagers, who were on ground when the incident occurred, there was a clash between rivalry oil thieves while they were loading a crude oil tanker which resulted in a gun duel which sparked off an explosion.

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Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the spokesman for the Imo State Police Command, Henry Okoye, said the unfortunate incident happened due to the illegal activities of oil thieves at a place called Obitti Rubber Estate popularly known for nefarious activities of oil vandals.

According to him, five vandals were killed, a fuel tanker burnt down and several properties and farmlands destroyed.

Okoye said the Commissioner of Police CP Aboki Danjuma has already set up a high-powered investigation team to immediately unravel the immediate cause of the incident and arrest the culprits.

In a related development, a fire has destroyed several shops at Gusau Central Market, killing one person.

The fire reportedly broke out at around 9 p.m. last night in the furniture section of the state capital’s largest market.

The Commander of the Nigerian Fire Service, New Market office, Hamza Mohammed, informed Channels Television that a shop owner whose name is yet to be identified died while attempting to enter his shop to extinguish a fire forcefully.

Firefighters from the state command have been battling the inferno since 9 p.m. yesterday, preventing it from spreading to other shops.

Mohammed reported that several shops were affected by a fire, but the cause is still unknown.

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