Illicit brew kills six in Kenya

July 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – Six people died on Sunday night and more than 10 others were blinded after they consumed illicit brew suspected to have been laced with methanol in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, police said.

Four of them died at the Soweto area soon after consuming the local brew while two others died in hospital.

Police said they were yet to establish the exact number of victims admitted to hospital.

“Four people died at the Soweto area of Kibera and others are still admitted to hospital, they had consumed illicit brew we suspect was laced with methanol,” Nairobi PPO Anthony Kibuchi said.

He said he had not been informed of the deaths of the two other people but a senior police officer in the area said:  “ Four died in the slum after drinking the brew but two others died on the way to hospital, we have a total of six people.”

Mr Kibuchi said a woman suspected to have been part of a group that brew the alcohol was being held for questioning.

“She is in custody, detectives are still interrogating her. We have also seized some of the samples of the brew which will be submitted to the Government Chemist for further analysis,” Mr Kibuchi said.

Nearly a dozen others are feared to have lost sight as a result of drinking the local brew dubbed ‘steam engine’ which is common in many slums in Nairobi and villages upcountry.

There was tension in the slum early Monday after locals threatened to lynch brewers of the illicit alcohol which has claimed the lives of hundreds of people in the country.

Three months ago, 12 people died after consuming 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.

Dozens others were reported to have lost sight at the time.


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