Arepo explosion: Nine cops missing as fire rages

NNPC pipeline fire, Arepo27 May 2014, Lagos – Nine policemen were missing after the shootout between the police and suspected vandals in Arepo community, Obafemi-Owode area of Lagos State.

Our correspondent, who visited the area on Tuesday to assess the situation, observed that the inferno continued to rage, spouting dark flames into the air.

The explosion occurred on Saturday evening after the clash between the policemen and the vandals.

PUNCH Metro had reported on Monday that no fewer than seven people were feared dead in the gun battle between the police and the suspected vandals.

Our correspondent had reported that the vandals attacked the policemen after the cops challenged their illegal activities in the area.

By Tuesday, the security around the site appeared to have been intensified, as rescue officials were equally prevented from accessing it.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that the police stopped rescue officials from further incursion into the pipeline site as it had become a security matter.

The source said, “This is a security matter and rescue officials have been asked to stop coming. The police specifically instructed them to stop coming. The fire ought to have gone down by now, so we cannot tell why it’s still burning.”

Meanwhile, one of the relatives of the missing cops told our correspondent that the family had been looking for him, either dead or alive, and the police had not helped their cause.

The relative said, “We have been going round, searching for our brother and we have not been able to see him. The police have been telling us to go into the jungle and search ourselves without any back up or security. What is the meaning of this? They are frustrating us.”

When our correspondent called the Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command, Muyiwa Adejobi, he said there was no update on the matter.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, was unreachable, despite repeated attempts to get through to his telephone line.


– The Punch

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