Twenty four died in Embu town, 13 in Makueni, nine in Kikuyu, six in Kitui and two in Murang’a. In Embu, more than 50 patients have been treated in the past 48 hours at the Embu district hospital after drinking ‘Kathuvuria’, a bootleg alcohol, at Shauri Yako slum in Monday from 5am onwards. They were served by a couple.
The man of the house in which the alcohol was sold is among the victims. The alcohol is reportedly imported from Kirinyaga and Mombasa. Embu district hospital boss Dr Gerald Nderitu said by yesterday morning 50 people were still feeling groggy with some suffering stomachache and headaches.
Some arrived in a coma. Seven who died in their homes were taken to the mortuary. Of the 35 admitted, 12 died. One of those admitted was a 16-year-old schoolgirl who told doctors that she was given the drink by her boyfriend.
Dr Nderitu ruled out methanol which causes blindness as the patients’ sight was intact.
Samples of the drink have been collected for analysis. Embu West sub-county police boss Elvas Korir said two women have been arrested during the probe into the source of the drink. Survivors told reporters that Kathuvuria is so potent that it is flammable.
A cup is sold for Sh15. National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse chairman John Mututho visited the victims at the hospital and blamed the laxity of the provincial administration and police.
Some survivors told Mututho not to relent in his fight to eradicate illicit brew. At remote Katilini village in Mutomo sub-county in Kitui, seven villagers died on Monday night after a drinking spree. Three died at Mutomo Mission Hospital where they were rushed after complaining of stomach pain and foaming in the mouth.
The other three died at Katilini dispensary. Ikutha OCPD Paul Korrir said the victims were among 20 people who fell ill after taking ‘Countryman’ beer packed in plastic containers.
“Fifteen partakers of the killer beer at a bar at Katilini trading centre survived after they were give poison antidotes at the Katilini dispensary. They are out of danger but we sadly lost six men,” the OCPD said yesterday.