Attacks on Tanker Drivers Force Loadings Suspension at Nigerian Refinery

Thursday, August 02, 2001
Loadings at Nigeria's largest oil refinery have been suspended following attacks by local youths on oil tanker drivers, which left 10 tankers ablaze.

A Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spokesman said that the supply of petroleum products to the eastern part of the country had been disrupted because drivers have refused to return to the depot since clashes on Tuesday.

Protesters suspecting foul play in the death of a local driver sparked the attacks. The disruptions came just as the supply of petroleum products across the country seemed to be gaining stability after the worst phase of fuel shortages for years. The spokesman said the youths were protesting the death of a local man who was a member of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union (PTDU).

"Youths from the deceased's community, who suspected 'foul play' in the death, stormed the PTDU office opposite the NNPC Port Harcourt depot and burned it," he said. "In addition, they barricaded the route leading to the depot...attacking motorists."

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