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South Africa

Herbal concoction kills 13 in SA

afrol News, 23 September - At least 13 thirteen members of Mazubane family including two weeks old baby were found dead in a lounge by their neighbour after allegedly consuming a herbal concoction.

Dead bodies were four boys aged between 2 and 7, 17 year old boy, 21 year-old man, four women in their 30s and two 55-year-olds, South African media reported.

The family was reported to have been performing traditional ritual and may have taken wrong herbs, Sapa news agency cited police as saying.

Local media reports said dead bodies were found by a neighbour when she went there to borrow a bible.

"It is alleged that one family member who was trained as a traditional healer gave them a certain herbal medicine which is suspected to have been cause of the deaths," police spokesperson Zandra Wiid said.

She said it was believed that a 17-year-old family member, a trainee traditional healer, had administered deadly concoction. "We don't know what the purpose was for taking it, or if the family had been sick at the time," Ms Wiid said.

Two family members survived just because they were not at home at the time the concoction was taken.

Post-mortem examination show that Mazubane family near Port Shepstone was involved in traditional ritual, and may have taken poisonous herbs by mistake.

According to sources close to investigation, all victims had blood dripping from their noses when they were found.

David Mazubane, 29 trainee healer’s brother, was still in shock and suspected that his 17-year-old brother who started training as traditional healer at the age of 15 had administered the deadly concoction.

Department of Health has stated that it was still not certain about the cause and the purpose for taking it, or if the family had been sick at the time.

Many black community people are said to use herbal medicine and consult traditional healers in addition to Western style doctors, and situations like this are becoming common in South Africa, Ms Wiid said.

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