Hundreds killed in Nigeria pipeline explosion

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of people were killed and many more injured after a pipeline carrying petroleum products exploded today in Nigeria's largest city of Lagos. Reports said that between 200 and 500 people had been killed.

Rescue workers are trying to document scores more charred corpses lying at the scene by raging fires are hampering further recovery.

A senior official for the Nigerian Red Cross, Ige Oladimeji, said his workers had documented "over 200 and still counting."

The blast shook the heavily populated Adule Egba neighbourhood after dawn, Nigerian Red Cross spokesman Umar Mairiga said.

Hours after the blast, heavy, black smoke still billowed high into the sky over the neighbourhood.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast.

Nigerians often tap into pipelines carrying refined fuel, scooping up the raw product in buckets or plastic bags. Spilled fuel spreading in pools sometimes ignites, killing people nearby.

In May, more than 150 people died in a similar explosion in Lagos.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, but corruption, poor management and limited refining capacity often leaves the country short of fuel for vehicles and stoves.

Shortages in recent days have prompted hours-long lines at Lagos filling stations.