Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Five suspected oil pipeline vandals have blown themselves up with dynamite in the creeks of Azagbene, Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, after the device exploded as they attempted to siphon crude oil from a facility in the area.
It was gathered saturday that at least two of the vandals were roasted to death while three others were burnt beyond recognition during the operation.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mr. Asinim Butswat, when contacted, said the matter had not been officially reported to him, but promised to get in touch with the police heads in the coastal community.
But a source said the dynamite malfunctioned, killing the victims of the explosion who were found by villagers the morning after the incident.
â€œThe indigenes heard the sound of the explosion. It was followed by fire. But in the morning, when they went to the scene they found two dead bodies and three others badly burntâ€, he said.
It was also gathered that the charred bodies of the vandals have already been moved away from the site of the explosion for burial.
When contacted, the Central Zone Chairman, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Mr. Tare Porri, who confirmed the incident said it occurred on a gas pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
He said the pipeline belonging to Agip linked Azagbene in Ekeremor and other communities in Southern Ijaw local government areas of the state.
â€œThe incident occurred between the communities of Azagbene and Okpotuari and the victims of the explosion were majorly from Azagbene community. They wanted to vandalise an Agip pipeline by detonating dynamite. But something went wrong and they detonated it on themselves.
â€œWe call on youths to stop endangering themselves by vandalising pipelines in their communities. Apart from risking their lives, their actions are degrading our environmentâ€, the Ijaw youth leader said.
Porri called on security agencies responsible for fighting vandalism in the Niger Delta to be at alert and be pro-active in dealing with such cases before they occur.