Residents of Kom Kom in Oyigbo local Government Area of Rivers State has said that over 100 people were burnt to ashes following an explosion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s oil pipeline in the area.
According to a report by the PM news who visited the area on Sunday, observed that some of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition while scores of corpses were still in the bush where the explosion occurred.
It was also gathered that the number of human casualties grew because many of the villagers were in the swamp scooping petrol gushing out of the ruptured NNPC pipeline.
Residents also raised an alarm over the humanitarian disaster due to the fast decomposing bodies, stench and pollution of the swamp and the environment.
Also affected were a number of palm wine tappers and local brewers of Ethanol who were in the swamp.
Villagers said over 100 people were trapped in the huge fire because there was a free-for-all scramble for leaking petrol by the villagers before the explosion.
In an interview with PM news, a villager who gave his as name Ogechi Nnamdi said: “Nobody at the scene of the explosion survived. People were rushing to the leakage site to scoop free fuel, suddenly we heard an explosion.
“At least, I saw about 20 dead bodies. 11 had been carried away. And more are in the swamp yet to be recovered. And it is difficult getting inside the swamp now because we are in the rainy season,” he pointed out.
He, therefore, called for the decontamination of the area by the government to avoid the spread of diseases.
Some of the villagers were observed recovering the charred bodies from the swamp and burying them in mass graves.
Most of volunteers were not putting on medical gears to prevent infections from the fast decomposing bodies.
There was no presence of emergency officials from the Oyigbo local government, state or the Federal government at the time of the visit.
Our correspondent was assaulted by the pungent smell of decomposing corpses oozing out from the environment.