300 feared dead in petrol blaze

 

Warri - Up to 300 people scavenging for fuel from a burst petrol pipeline may have died in southern Nigeria yesterday when a fire ripped through the area around the leak. "The death toll is rising by the minute, at least five people are dying every hour and no less than 300 people have died," a journalist who visited hospitals around the oil town of Warri said.

No official death toll has been announced for the disaster, described by one oil industry official as an act of sabotage, but no group has claimed responsibility.

Many of the dead were said to have been trapped in a ditch where a pool of petrol had collected. A wide patch of land the size of a soccer pitch was charred as the fire trailed the flow of petrol.