By Kamugisha Nickson
Four people have gone totally blind and a number of others have partially lost their sight after consuming City 5, a local potent gin produced by City 5 distillers in the Ayivu Division of Arua City.
The gin killed other 14 consumers in separate intervals after consuming it last week.
The death started occurring on Friday until Sunday morning while several other victims are still hospitalised. According to police, seven of the deaths occurred in Mvara and Oluko suburbs of Arua City and seven others died in Madi Okollo District.
A nurse at the Inde health centre III in Madi Okollo District who requested not to be named said that the patients presented with headaches, backache, restlessness, and difficulties in breathing.
Mr Norman Dradebo, a resident in Arua city who survived being killed by the gin, said he cannot see now.
“It was at around 8.00am when I asked whether it was already morning so that I would come out, but inside the house, it was really dark. They were talking to me but I couldn’t see them,” he said.
According to the doctors, 14 people have been discharged but Dradebo is among the four experiencing visual impairments.
“These people have now lost their sight, some of them partially, while others are completely blind. Partially means they can still have a degree of vision but not what they used to have,” said Dr Onesmus Misoa, Ag. Principal Ophathalmology department, Arua Referral Hospital.
The West Nile Regional Police Spokesperson, Ms Josephine Angucia said that three people have been arrested while the owner of the second manufacturing plant is on the run following its closure.
“As we are investigating, let people first desist from consuming and selling these items until when these investigations are over,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Uganda Bureau of Standards says it’s investigating the contents of the potent alcohol. The gin is parked in 200ml plastic bottles and lacks the UNBS quality mark. It costs Shs1500 on the local market.