Home | News    Sunday 20 March 2005

Alcohol poisoning kills 21, blinds 6 in Sudan

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KHARTOUM, March 20 (Reuters) - Sudan said 21 people died and at least 6 went blind from drinking illegal alcohol in the past few days and vowed to crack down on its producers in Khartoum and central Sudan.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement received on Sunday that it was starting a campaign to bring those who made the contaminated drink to justice and deal with illegal factories where alcohol is produced in Khartoum and Gezira states.

"The Interior Ministry is warning people of the dangers of drinking contaminated alcohol after information was provided to them that a number of people had been killed or gone blind after drinking the substance," the statement said.

Sudan implements Islamic sharia law which prevents the sale of alcohol. The government says non-Muslims are not subject to the law, but many non-Muslims are arrested for making and selling locally brewed alcohol.

A peace deal which ended more than two decades of civil war in Sudan’s south will end sharia law in the mostly non-Muslim south of Africa’s largest country and will establish a commission to protect the rights of non-Muslims in the national capital Khartoum.

The imposition of sharia was one of the reasons for the outbreak of the war in the south in 1983.

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