NIGERIA - Another Oil Pipeline Fire : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Updated: July 25, 2000 12:57 a.m. EDT

Global: Another Oil Pipeline Fire Breaks Out in Nigeria

The Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria (July 24, 2000 6:05 p.m. EDT - Another oil pipeline fire broke out in southeastern Nigeria, killing an undetermined number of people in an area where similar fires recently killed hundreds, a state governor said Monday.

The fire, near the village of Sapele and the oil port of Warri, came a week after another pipeline blast in the region left dozens of fuel scavengers dead -- and two weeks after 200 people were killed in another inferno.

Gov. James Ibori of Delta State gave few details of the latest blaze, except that it began Sunday, that firefighters were still battling it and that "some people have lost their lives."

"I am shocked that this is the sixth pipeline fire in the state in two months," the visibly shaken governor told reporters.

The circumstances of the latest fire were not known, although similar blazes in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta have been accidentally touched off as scavengers use anything from simple funnels to sophisticated pumps to steal fuel from holes punched in the pipelines.

Many of the oil fires have occurred near Warri.

Pipeline vandalism, known as "scooping," is common in Nigeria despite the risk of a deadly fire or punishment which can include being shot on sight by police.

In December 1998, more than 700 people were killed in a pipeline blast in Jesse. Since then, the government has tried to educate villagers about the danger of scavenging pipeline fuel.

But poverty and residents' anger at the government and oil industry for allegedly polluting the environment and financially neglecting the Delta -- an area where few villages have roads, electricity or running water -- have kept the illegal practice alive.

Nigeria is the world's sixth-largest oil exporter, accounting for about one-twelfth of oil imported by the United States.,4382,500231831-500336456-501921192-0,00.html

-- (, July 25, 2000

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