Fire and explosion at illegal oil refinery in Nigeria

At least 25 people have been reported dead following an explosion and fire at an illegal oil refinery in Nigeria’s Rivers state.

The explosion occurred early on Friday morning and killed people from several communities, including some minors.

“The casualties involved are very high… we are counting 25 bodies,” community leader Ifeanyi Omano told Reuters. “We aren’t certain of their identities yet.”

The practice of tapping pipelines is common in oil-rich Nigeria yet highly dangerous. The country holds the distinction of being Africa’s largest oil exporter. Official estimates reveal that more than 10 per cent of its production – or an average of 200,000 barrels of oil per day – is lost to those tapping or vandalising pipelines.

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