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At least 15 die as huge explosion rocks Lagos

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Aftermath: A woman cries at the scene of the pipeline explosion
in Lagos. Photo: Temilade Adelaja/Reuters

Aftermath: A woman cries at the scene of the pipeline explosion in Lagos. Photo: Temilade Adelaja/Reuters

REUTERS

Aftermath: A woman cries at the scene of the pipeline explosion in Lagos. Photo: Temilade Adelaja/Reuters

A massive explosion rocked Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos yesterday, killing at least 15 people and leaving dozens of people trapped in collapsed buildings.

The explosion in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos was heard several kilometres away.

It destroyed more than 50 buildings, which either collapsed or caught fire, in three different neighbourhoods, according to Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

Fires began spreading to nearby oil pipelines and authorities feared more damage or explosions. The death toll was expected to rise because residents said some people remained trapped in collapsed buildings.

"Fifteen bodies have been recovered, including a whole family of four who were heading to church before they were cut short in the explosion," Mr Farinloye said.

At least two people had also been rescued alive, he said.

One building is a school where injured children have been pulled from the rubble, some covered in blood.

Nigerian officials were mystified as the cause of the massive explosion and have not ruled out foul play. A naval base is located nearby.

Local resident Linda Uche, a resident, said the sound of the explosion and the extent of the damage was far more serious than a usual oil pipeline explosion, which happens not infrequently.

It was the most serious explosion in Lagos since ­January 2002, when bombs from a military armoury exploded, killing more than 1,000 people.

Irish Independent