Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Two suspected illegal oil bunkerers were killed and five seriously injured in the Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) fire incident which forced Aiteo to declare Force Majeure, at the weekend.
Aiteo spokesman, Ndiana Matthew, who confirmed the fire incident, which occurred on Easter Sunday, disclosed in a statement, yesterday, that it has been put out completely.
Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that the suspected bunkerers were involved in the sabotage of the pipeline; to steal crude oil when the fire incident occurred.
Further findings indicated that operatives of a surveillance team, Labrador a security outfit in charge of the area, discovered the sabotage and immediately alerted operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF), who, in turn, informed Aiteo prompting it to shut down the trunkline.
According to a security source, the Labrador operatives heard suspicious noise and were investigating when they heard a loud bang and, on getting to the scene, saw two dead bodies while those not affected had evacuated the injured from the scene.
Checks equally indicated that the suspected bunkerers had punctured the pipeline with a puncturing equipment, which caused a spark and resulted in an explosion, killing two people on the spot while five were severally burnt.
“There was a loud noise and when the security outfit guys got to the scene, they saw two dead bodies and they were told by people that five people with severe burns were seen being evacuated at the waterside.
“The two dead bodies are still at the spot as security agents are waiting for those that would come and claim the bodies.
“The surveillance team is assisting the JTF to trace the culprits,” he said.
Matthew assured that security agents working with the surveillance team are on top of the situation.
An official of the JTF, who declined to be named, as he was not authorised to speak on the incident, without clearance from Defence Headquarters, said JTF operatives, assisted by the surveillance team, are combing hospitals and traditional healing homes for the suspects with severe burns.
The NCTL, before the latest incident, had enjoyed smooth operations due to the diligence of the surveillance team and security operatives which immediately fuelled suspicion that the fire may have occurred through illegitimate third party breach of the functionality of the pipeline.