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Rioters Attack Factory in Nigeria

September 18, 2002|From Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria — Thousands of rioters burned and looted a factory complex in Lagos after an accidental fire killed at least 15 workers, witnesses said Tuesday.

Managers for the Chinese company that owns the factories fended off rioters trying to invade their offices by pulling guns, general manager Mun Kwan Lai said.

"They were throwing stones, banging on the gates while the place was still on fire," Lai said. "They had iron pipes and were arming themselves with whatever was on the ground."

The fire probably was caused by an electrical problem, assistant general manager David Guo said. The six factories in the complex made goods ranging from sandals to cutlery.

Rioters were angered by accusations that the doomed workers had been trapped behind exit doors locked by managers.

Lai denied the accusation.

Police said that 10 people were arrested for looting but that thousands had been involved.

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