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01 March 2024

52 dead after drinking poisoned brew

Those who drank the contaminated brew were attending a funeral in the region. (Shutterstock)


Contaminated traditional beverage has killed 52 people in Mozambique, health authorities say.

An additional 51 people were admitted to hospitals in the Chitima and Songo districts in the northeastern Tete province, and 146 more people have reported to hospitals to be examined for the poisoning, district health official Alex Albertini told Radio Mozambique.

Those who drank the contaminated brew were attending a funeral in the region on Saturday, Albertini said.

Pombe, a traditional Mozambican brew, is made from millet or corn flour. Authorities believe that the drink was poisoned with crocodile bile during the course of the funeral.

Blood and traditional beverage samples were being sent to the capital Maputo to be tested, said provincial health director Carle Mosse.

"We don't have the capacity to test the samples," she told Radio Mozambique.

Mourners who drank the brew in the morning reported no illness, while those who drank it in the afternoon, fell ill, authorities said. They believe the beverage must have been poisoned while funeral goers were at the cemetery.

The woman who brewed the beverage is also among the dead.

(Image via Shutterstock)