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269 People Killed in Nigerian Pipeline Explosion
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The death toll of the oil pipeline explosion in the Nigerian commercial capital of Lagos on early Tuesday climbed to 269, an official from Nigeria's Red Cross said.

Abiodun Orebiyi, secretary general of the Red Cross of Nigeria said that "the number of dead is confirmed at 269," adding that all the bodies have been retrieved.

He also told reporters that the Red Cross volunteers had so far rescued some 60 people with serious burns and sent them to nearby hospitals for emergent treatment.

The explosion which occurred at about 8 AM local time (07:00GMT) was reportedly caused by a vandalized pipeline that led to afire.

A Red Cross volunteer at the scene said earlier that hundreds of people have been roasted to death beyond recognition. "They are littered on the ground," he said.

The flames caused by the explosion were so strong that it took firefighters equipped with leaking water hoses about six hours to extinguish them.

A Lagos police officer who refused to be named said the victims were those scooping fuel for selling, an occurrence very common in the nation's commercial capital in recent years.

The explosion scene is now cordoned off by the police, he added.

In mid-May this year, more than 200 people were burnt to death in a pipeline explosion in Lagos.

Stealing fuel from oil pipeline is very common in Nigeria, especially in those areas like Abule Egba. The past few years have witnessed a string of pipeline explosions, with each killing at least dozens of people.

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2006)

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