Beer Poisoned With Croc Bile Kills 69: Officials

196 hospitalized after apparent funeral attack
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2015 10:32 AM CST
Beer Poisoned With Croc Bile Kills 69: Officials
Beer was believed to have been poisoned with crocodile bile.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

At a funeral in Mozambique this weekend, people who drank a traditional beer in the morning were fine—but others who had it in the afternoon were victims of a tragedy. At least 69 people died and 196 were hospitalized after drinking the beer, which authorities say was likely poisoned with crocodile bile, possibly while mourners were at a cemetery, the AP reports. The country has declared three days of mourning. "People flocked to the hospital, suffering from diarrhea and muscle pain," an official told Radio Mozambique. "Then bodies from various neighborhoods were brought to the hospital, and this alerted us."

The woman who brewed the traditional beer, known as pombe and made from millet or corn, was among those who died. Another official said yesterday that things could get even worse in an area ill-equipped to handle the situation. Samples of both the beer and blood have been sent off for testing in the country's capital, and officials are collecting donated items, including food and coffins, for suffering families. "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," says the official. Police are on the case, the AP reports. (Read more crocodile stories.)

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