“Odontol” At Its Worst!

21 people died in the East Region this week after consuming the locally produced liquor.


In the English-speaking part of the country, it is called “Afofo,” while in the French zones, it is popularly known as “Odontol.” The locally produced distilled alcoholic drink this week caused havoc in Mindourou in Upper-Nyong Division of East Region. Two days ago, some 21 people in the locality died after consuming “Odontol,” which they got from their regular supplier. From all indications, the spirit is an integral part of the people’s lives, especially pygmies in Nkouak village situated near Mindourou along the Abong-Mbong-Lomié highway.

Since Monday, November 15, 2016, the consumption of the intoxicating liquor has been a cause for concern as reports from Nkouak reveal that 21 people died not long after consuming “Odontol.” Information revealed that inhabitants of Nkouak usually gather at a popular village square to organise various feasts. During one of such feasts, many people consumed “Odontol.” Hours later, they lost consciousness and vision. Thereafter, there were progressive reports of people dying from “Odontol” consumption. More than 10 people who also consumed the locally produced alcoholic spirit are currently under intensive medical care at the Abong-Mbang District Hospital.

While health and administrative authorities have intensified campaigns against the consumption of the distilled spirit, efforts are also on to assist survivors of the last incident. Several administrative authorities have taken measures in different parts of the country to forbid the consumption of “Odontol” by the population, particularly youths. However, it should be noted that there is no law that prohibits the consumption and production of the locally brewed liquor. The Penal Code in Section 258 punishes producers with three months to three years imprisonment and fine of FCFA 5,000 to FCFA 500,000 if the liquor causes harm to anyone.

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