At least 70 people died and another 196 continued battling for their lives after they drank contaminated beer tainted with crocodile bile during a funeral in Mozambique.
According to the health officials, the toxic brew which is being dubbed “Pombe” claimed lives of 69 people and left another 196 still struggling to survive from the effect of poison at the Maputo Central Hospital.
Confirming the deaths, provincial health director Carle Mosse said, “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.”
Meanwhile, the Mozambique government has called for a three-day mourning from Monday to pay tribute to the victims.
According to the doctors, while they were trying to find out the cause it was realized that there was huge influx of patients with similar symptoms.
“People flocked to the hospital, suffering from diarrhea and muscle pain. Then bodies from various neighborhoods were brought to the hospital, and this alerted us,” said Paula Bernardo, Director of Northeast Tete province Health, Women and Social Welfare.
Meanwhile, the authorities said that they are still investigating how the brew was contaminated. But they said that they believe somebody must have dumped a dose of crocodile bile into the batch.
Pombe is a fermented mix of corn flour and millet. The bile is the digestive juices produced by the gall bladders of the Nile crocodile. It contains some detergent-like molecules called bile acids or bile salts that are commonly used by the animals to dissolve or emulsify fats.