17 Die in Kenya After Consuming Illicit Brew Laced With Unknown Industrial Chemical.
17 people have been confirmed dead at the Kibera slums in Nairobi on Monday after they consumed what was thought to be illicit brew laced with an unknown industrial chemical, police sources said. The bodies of eight of the victims were found in their houses while the bodies five others were discovered along footpaths later on Monday. Four others died at the Kenyatta National Hospital. A 21-year-old man and another one aged 55 were reported to have died on their way to hospital after they complained of stomach-related complications.
Those killed were reported to have been drinking moonshine laced with methanol at a popular drinking den in the slum for the better part of Sunday. Community workers at the Kibera Laini Saba of Soweto East Location were busy trying to locate missing persons on Monday afternoon, after word went round that more people, mainly young men who live alone may have died in their houses at night.
“So far, we have recovered eight bodies, these are people who failed to wake up from their houses and when we opened we found them dead,” one community worker who only identified himself as Elkana said.
AfrobeatRadio correspondent, Abdulaziz Billow accompanied the community workers to four of the houses located within a distance of about 200 meters where seven bodies were found. One of them included that of a 24-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman who was identified only as Bretha. “She went drinking last night in the company of her friends, we did not see her until at about midnight when I heard her passing outside my house, and this morning she did not wake up that is when we got curious,” a neighbour Christine Omolo said.
Area chief Clement Ombati, told journalists that four other victims had died while being taken to hospital. “The situation here is pathetic, there are more than ten people who have been taken to hospital but their situation is not very good, we only hope for the best,” Mr Ombati said.
At least ten people were blinded after consuming the bootleg locally known as chang’aa which police believe was laced with an industrial chemical police believe to be Methanol.
“We have submitted samples of these brews to the government chemist and we are waiting for the results, we are currently questioning one of the women picked up from the house where the brew was being sold,” Nairobi PPO Anthony Kibuchi said.
Kenya is not new to such cases. Three months ago, 12 people died after consuming similar illicit brew in Nairobi’s Shauri Moyo estate where more than 20 other people were blinded. And in June 2005, 49 people died in Machakos after they consumed illicit home-made brew suspected to have been laced with a poisonous substance.
News Report By Abdulaziz Billow
Abdulaziz Billow is AfrobeatRadio’s correspondent for East Africa.