As many as 56 people are reportedly dead after drinking a locally brewed beer which was allegedly contaminated by crocodile bile, in the southeastern African country Mozambique.
Pombe, a traditional beer popular in Mozambique, is brewed from millet or corn flour. It as been learnt that the Pombe, prepared by a local woman for guests at a funeral, was poisoned with crocodile bile.
Health authorities have confirmed that the mishap has resulted in the death of 56 people, including the woman who brewed it, reports Al Jazeera. Around 49 others have been admitted to hospitals in the nearby districts of Chitima and Songo in the northeastern Tete province, while 149 people are being examined for poisoning.
The victims were attending a funeral in the area on Sunday, district health official Alex Albertini told Radio Mozambique. It is believed that the drink got poisoned during the course of the funeral, as the mourners who drank the beer in the morning reported no illness, whereas those who drank it in the afternoon, fell ill. Health authorities state that the beer was poisoned while funeral-goers were at the cemetery.
Carle Mosse, the provincial health director, said that the blood of the victims and the beer samples were being sent to Mozambique's capital city of Maputo as their hospitals are not equipped to test the samples. Mosse added that she expected the situation to worsen as the region does not have the resources to deal with the disaster.
Meanwhile, the health authorities are trying to help the affected families by collecting blood donations, foods and other items for them.