Lamu pupils admitted after eating poisonous fruit

Five pupils of Mhamarani Primary School are being treated at the Mpeketoni Sub-county Hospital after eating a poisonous fruit in the school compound.

Several dozen pupils are said to have consumed jatropha fruit, a plant that produces oil used to produce bio-fuel.

In Lamu and Tana River it was grown on experimental basis by a foreign firm that sought to cultivate it to generate a bio-fuel that is an alternative to fossil fuels.

The firm was forced to abandon the project after environmentalists questioned its viability, saying the project was destroying rare plant and bird species.

Reports indicate that in spite of the end of the project the plants still exist in scattered areas. There are demands for the government to mop it out because many residents still think its attractive plants are edible.

On Tuesday, 69 pupils were reported to have eaten ripe fruits. Reports indicate a pupil harvested the fruits and distributed it to other pupils although she did not consume it herself.

According to a parent who is also a teacher at the school, 69 pupils ate the fruit.

Parent Paul Maina who also teaches at the school said during break time, a pupil collected the poisonous fruit and shared it with the rest.

One pupil rushed to the staff-room complaining of stomachache and vomiting. Upon seeing that, the teachers rushed to different classes and found other pupils with similar symptoms.

Those affected were from Standard One and Six.

They were taken to Mhamarani Dispensary for first aid and later referred to Mpeketoni for further treatment.

"The pupils who had been admitted were 69 but now the five admitted were seen to be in a critical condition," said Paul Maina.

Ann Muthoni a parent said her class three daughter  is responding to treatment.

"We have admitted five pupils out of 69 who came here," said a senior nurse at Mpeketoni sub-county hospital who asked not to be named because she is not authorised to speak to the media.

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Mpeketoni Sub-county HospitalMhamarani Primary SchoolTana RiverLamu