Police in West Nile Region has launched investigations into a deadly local gin that is alleged to have caused the death of 12 people (6 people from Zambia cell, Mvara road in Arua city and 6 others from Geria village, Yachi Parish, Ogoko sub-county in Madi Okollo district).
Spokesperson Fred Enanga said a total of 20 other victims are being treated for suspected methanol poisoning, after they developed symptoms of poisoning such as stomach ache, dizziness and vomiting after drinking the deadly G5 local gin.
The deceased persons who consumed the drink from Zambia cell, in Arua city include: Amuzu Nelson, a 50 year old male peasant, Alioni Isaac, a 47 year old, Edamara Dick, a 34 year old, Tito Gordon, a 51 year old, Titus Awudele, a 51 year old male peasant, and Karibu Cosmas alias Toko, aged 53.
The other deceased persons who died as a result of drinking the same deadly gin in Geria village, Yachi parish, Ogoko sub county in Madi Okolllo district include; Ofuti Charles, Augutoko Gilbert, Anguzu Michael, Bolo Eliaza John, Toko Joel and Lemiya Valentino.
Enanga said out of the 20 survivors, two have been discharged, leaving a balance of 18 victims. The discharged patients include; Andeku.O.Alija a 53 year old, primary teacher of Oduloba and resident of Zambia cell Mvara ward, who was discharged from Arua Regional Referral Hospital on the 21.08.2022 and Yoda Adriko, both from Arua City.
The District Security Committee immediately banned the sale of the deadly G5 local gin in West Nile and closed the factory, for further investigation.
“To make matters worse, the local distillery was not yet fully registered by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), which implies that Luluwiri fruit wine factory had not yet obtained clearance for production, making their sale of City 5 local gin illegal,” Enanga said.
So far 4 suspects have been arrested to help with investigations. These include; Norman Godfrey, a 32 year old dealer, at Zambia cell, Mvara ward, central division in Arua city. He was released on bond to go for treatment, Ezikuru Rose, a 40 year old, business dealer, arrested from Luluwiri wine factory, resident of Pokea cell, Ayivu West division, Andule Gordon, a 54 year business dealer, arrested from Luluwiri fruit wine factory and resident of Pasua cell, Pokea ward, Ayivu west division and Chandribo Philem, a 28 year old, factory worker and resident of Kasua cell, Pokea ward Ayivu west division.
Further efforts are in place to trace and arrest the owner of the local distillery and other staff, who could face multiple charges of homicide and physical injuries, after clearly establishing the levels of the deadly poisonous substance, used in the fermentation of the local gin.
Enanga called upon all proprietors of local distilleries in all Regions, to ensure they work with UNBS for registration, proper fermentation and production of the local wines, to prevent poisoning.
In the West Nile Region alone, there are over 35 different brands of local gin made from sugar cane, cassava, pineapple, apple, Kibaako, industrial ethanol among others which can be risky for consumers.