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'Countryman' blamed for deaths of ten in Makueni

By Onesmus Nzioka | May 7th 2014

By Onesmus Nzioka

Makueni, Kenya: More than 10 people in Kithuki location, Makueni County, died Tuesday after consuming poisoned liquor and several others were blinded by the killer brew. By Tuesday evening, more victims of the killer brew were being whisked to Makueni Level 4 Hospital after complaining of blurred vision, stomach pain and general body weakness.

According to Makueni County Director of Health, Dr Kiliko Kiuluku, the patients suffered from methanol poisoning.

Some of the victims interviewed by The Standard at the Makueni Hospital said they consumed a brew named ‘Countryman’ on Sunday.

“I went drinking in our local bar at Kithuki market on Sunday at 5pm, but I cannot remember the time I left. I spent the whole day Monday sleeping and was brought here on Tuesday after collapsing from dizziness,” said Munwyoki Ngovya.

Ngovya was taking the brew for the first time since he quit three months ago.

Among those who perished is a bar owner Wavinya Kavita. According to Flora Mutheu, a businesswoman, Wavinya was seen drinking with two other customers, a man and his wife, on Sunday and closed the bar around 11pm. She is said to have passed on at 3am on Monday.

The man she was seen drinking with died on Tuesday afternoon, while his wife is in critical condition.

Mutheu said the liquor, sold in plastic containers at Sh120, and tots of Sh20 has been in the market for long.

Mutheu said the brew is supplied by a businessman from Thika. He has a store in Kathonzweni town. The businessman reportedly switched off his phone immediately after news of the deaths broke out.

When The Standard visited the hospital, medical officers were in a frenzy to save lives of unconscious victims.

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