15 December 2017

Sudan: Deadly Drink Kills At Least Ten, Blinds Two in East Darfur

ED Daein — At least ten patients have died after drinking locally produced wine, while several people are being treated in a dialysis center in Khor Omar neighbourhood in Ed Daein, East Darfur. Others became blind.

The dead and victims have been arriving at the hospital in Ed Daein since Wednesday night. Ali Tahir Sharif, a local official, confirmed reports that at least ten patients died after drinking the substance on Thursday. "Two patients became blind. Four others in the dialysis center of Ed Daein are still receiving treatment."

Speaking to Radio Dabanga today, Sharif said that another person died but the family did not report his death to the police nor to the hospital, and buried him immediately.

Other witnesses in the area reported to Radio Dabanga that 24 people died after drinking the wine. They reported that there are three cases of blindness and five people are being treated in the dialysis center.

So far six people have been arrested on suspicion of being the wine brewers. The home-made wine, which is called 'araqi', is a drink mixed with spirit that has a high percentage of alcohol. The spirit is generally used to produce perfume and medical substances.

A shop owner who sold the spirit, a woman wine brewer, and several drinkers who have survived, have been arrested for investigation. A witness said that all of the drinkers are Sudanese citizens. The police are carrying out additional arrests for the investigation.

Khor Omar used to be a camp for South Sudanese refugees. After South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011, most of the refugees returned to their country. East Darfur state re-planned the area and turned it into one of the southern neighbourhoods of Ed Daein.

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