At least 100 people are presumed dead in a refinery explosion in southeast Nigeria, an official said Sunday as the search intensified for bodies at the site and for two people suspected of being involved in the blast.
The explosion Friday night at the Ohaji-Egbema local government area in Imo state was triggered by a fire at two fuel storage areas where more than a 100 people worked, state officials told The Associated Press.
Dozens of workers were caught up in the explosion while many others attempted to escape the blaze by running into wooded areas.
Those killed in the disaster are estimated to be within “the range of 100,” said Goodluck Opiah, the Imo commissioner for petroleum resources. “A lot of them ran into the bush with the burns and they died there.”
Although Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of crude oil, for many years its oil production capacity has been limited by a chronic challenge of oil storage and the operation of illegal refineries.