Around 69 people who drank poison-contaminated beer in a funeral in Mozambique’s Tete province on Saturday had quickly died, according to health authorities.
According to District Health Official Alex Albertini, poison from a crocodile’s bile was the probable contaminant in the drinks.
According to Health, Women and Social Welfare Director Paula Bernardo, around 196 people were admitted to a hospital in the Chitima district. She said: “People flocked to the hospital, suffering from diarrhea and muscle pain,” Bernardo told Radio Mozambique. “Then bodies from various neighborhoods were brought to the hospital, and this alerted us.”
The traditional beer Pombe, is made from millet or corn flour and made for two days. Pombe is often sold during ceremonies in rural areas of Mozambique. The funeral of a child that claimed 69 lives had served Pombe to attendees, including the child’s mother.
Funeral goers who arrived in the morning did not report any illness, but those who drank in the afternoon fell ill. Authorities speculate that the contaminant was administered while funeral goers were at the cemetery.
According to Provincial Health Director Carle Mosse, beer and blood samples had been sent to Mozambique’s capital Maputo to be tested.
“We are waiting for the results of the tests of the samples being done at Maputo Central Hospital so that we can identify the type of the product put into the drink,” said Mosse.