Nigerian authorities on Tuesday launched an investigation into an explosion that recently rocked an illegal oil refinery in the country’s delta region, with dozens feared killed.
The explosion occurred Monday at the illegal oil refinery in the Emohua local government area of the southern state of Rivers, Olufemi Ayodele, a spokesman for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in the state, told Xinhua over the telephone.
Ayodele, who declined to give a figure of casualties following the explosion, said that “the anti-vandal unit (of the NSCDC) has been dispatched to investigate the incident.”
Local police also confirmed the incident but said to be investigating the cause and gathering details about the casualties.
At least 35 people were feared killed, and dozens of others injured, by the fire from the illegal oil refinery, as locals gathered to scoop petroleum products, local media reported.
Such illegal oil refineries operate by tapping crude oil from pipelines owned by oil companies and are distilled into products in improvised tanks.
Oil pipeline vandalism and oil theft are frequently reported in Nigeria, causing huge economic losses.