Four people have died and ten others hospitalised after a drinking spree went wrong.
The 14 are said to be part of a larger group that consumed what authorities are terming as illicit poisonous liquor in Bungoma's Kamukunywa area.
The hospitalised, according to the authorities, are being stabilised even as investigations commence to identify the type of poison they consumed.
The area is close to the Ugandan border and has a history of deaths from drinking smuggled and unregulated distillates.
The government has been keen to crack down on illicit brew. In 2021, Interior Principal Secretary, Karanja Kibicho, noted that the State will not spare illegal brewers and users.
PS Kibicho stated that a multi-agency team will be launched in regions where the vice was getting out of hand. The government launched a program dubbed the Thika under Rapid Result Initiative (RRI), consisting of National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO), NACADA and police officers.
He was responding to concerns about the increase in the number of bars and production of illicit brew that is destroying the youths, but also pose danger to the young pupils.
PS Kibicho noted a challenge in legal terms as some bars are issued with licenses by devolved government units, which are likely to protect them from facing the law.
“Remember we have gaps in the law giving county governments the power to license bars, some have taken advantage of this to run illegal businesses. They are putting revenues first over the health of the people,” Dr Kibicho stated.
He stated that despite the gaps the government cannot sit back and allow brewers to destroy the youth with illicit brews.
“However, we shall enforce the NACADA laws, stating when and how bars operate and the standards required,” he stressed.
The government went on to launch the campaign that also targeted alcoholic administrators, who were identified as the weakest link in the fight against illicit brews that cost the lives of over 10 people in Nakuru county.
Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, added his voice in the matter noting that the increase of cheap and illegal liquor posed serious public health and safety challenges to a system that is already reeling from the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CS further stated that the supply and consumption of illegal liquor tend to rise snappily towards election season.
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