Looters combed Nigeria plane crash site – report

Reuters

Sun Oct 30, 2005 2:23 PM GMT
ABUJA (Reuters) – Looters rushed to the site of a plane crash in Nigeria last week, removing cash and jewels from among body parts and smouldering wreckage, a Nigerian newspaper reported on Sunday quoting local police.
The aircraft, operated by Nigerian airline Bellview, crashed in a marsh in Ogun State on October 22 shortly after taking off from Lagos on its way to the capital Abuja. All 117 people on board were killed.
Officials initially deployed helicopters and cars full of emergency workers to a site 150 km (100 miles) further north in Oyo state, only to find nothing there. It took 15 hours for authorities to identify the correct location.
The Punch newspaper said that in the meantime, looters from nearby areas combed the wreckage, taking personal effects belonging to the victims. They searched frantically for foreign currency in the belief that people rich enough to travel by plane would routinely carry large amounts of cash on them.
“Some people even stripped some of the body parts, that was callous,” the newspaper quoted Ogun State police chief Tunji Alapinni as saying.
The majority of Nigeria’s 140 million people live in extreme poverty and a lack of job prospects and resources has fostered a high crime rate. Armed robbery, racketeering and money-making scams are common.

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