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19 People Perish From Drinking Bootleg Hooch In Kenyan Slum

Tue, 27 Jul 2010 14:30:5

Ayinde O. Chase - AHN News Editor

Nairobi, Kenya (AHN) - Nineteen people have perished as a result of drinking illegal alcohol in a Kenyan slum. Another 12 have been rendered blind from the home-distilled beverage.

Officials said the bootleg drink known locally as Chang'aa, or "kill me quick," was brewed in a still in Kibera, Africa's largest slum. Investigators found it contained methanol, used as a chemical solvent or in anti-freeze.

The drink gets its "kill me quick" name because sometimes jet fuel or battery acid is added during the fermentation process giving the 15-cent-a-glass concoction its "kick."

Many people also suffer blindness as a result of the methanol, because it burns the optic nerve.

Doctors in East Africa say deaths of this kind are common as the cost of legal alcohol is out of reach for many of the region's poor.

Tension remains high in Kibera, as local residents have threatened to lynch illegal brewers.

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