15 members of the same family have died in Namibia after eating porridge that authorities believe became toxic when it was mixed with sediment left over from a homemade beer.
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation reported that more people are in critical condition in hospital.
Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services said in a statement on Tuesday that it was notified of the incident in Kayova village in the Kavango East region on May 27.
It said that eighteen members of the same household, ranging in age from two to 33, consumed the toxic porridge that was made of pearl millet mahangu flour mixed with dried and pounded fermented sediment, locally known as mundevere.
The victims - part of a family of 21 in the village - fell ill after dinner on Saturday and were rushed to hospital, police said.
As of Wednesday, 15 had died, police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi told AFP.
'So far this is the biggest number of deaths suspected to be from the ingestion of possible toxic material,' Shikwambi said.
An investigation has been opened, with results awaited from autopsies and lab tests, she added.
Giving an earlier update on the casualties, the ministry said: 'The affected seventeen members of the household presented at Nyangana District Hospital, Kavango East on 27 May 2023, with signs and symptoms of food poisoning. Due to their critical illness, thirteen people were referred to Rundu Intermediate Hospital.'
It added: 'Unfortunately nine persons were demised. Two of them passed away at Nyangana District Hospital and seven at Rundu Intermediate Hospital.
'At the time of this Press Release, eight people remain hospitalized. Six at Rundu Intermediate Hospital, of whom five are reported to be in critical condition; and two at Nyangana District Hospital, in a stable condition.'
The ministry also noted that additional samples were being taken for alcohol poisoning testing.