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'Shock as Isiolo illicit brew makers use mortuary chemical, ARVs to speed up fermentation

Isiolo residents were shocked on Thursday when it was revealed that illicit liquor sold at local kiosks was laced with antiretroviral drugs, formalin and painkillers.

The discovery was made by national government administrators led by Isiolo Deputy County Commissioner Kepha Marube during a five-hour raid across several dens in Bulapesa ward.

The officers, who pounced on two people drinking at a pub, recovered cans of ARVs, high blood pressure drugs and painkillers at “God’s Power” club, where 3,000 litres of illicit brew was destroyed.

Different from the commonly used methanol, lead acid and dry cells, the brewers lace the liquor with formalin used in preserving bodies in mortuaries and the other drugs to speed up fermentation and in turn enable them to make quick cash.

Picture Courtesy : Chiefs and assistant chiefs during past illicit brew crackdown in Bulapesa, Isiolo.

Bulapesa village elder Elgoi Wario, who has been at the forefront in fighting illegal brews, said they had not witnessed such an incident before.

“We are shocked because we have only been witnessing cases of brewers putting strange objects such as dead rats and women's inner garments in the liquor besides other hard drugs such as cocaine,” Mr Wario said.

During the destruction of the liquor, Mr Marube warned residents against consuming unregulated drinks, describing them as unsafe due to the presence of toxic substances.

“All these drugs are added to the liquor and once one consumes it, it harms their health,” he said as he displayed the ARVs, paracetamol and HBP drugs.

Saying that several people had been admitted to hospital after consuming the brew, the administrator lamented that many youths had been reduced to zombies, making them unproductive.

The security team has in the past three weeks destroyed 10,500 litres of illicit brew, including kangara, ndume and chang’aa.

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