Three die after taking herbal concoction in Bungoma

Herbalist moved from Uganda after marrying a girl from the village, he has gone into hiding

In Summary

• Villager says herbalist first worked as a gardener for a local farmer before getting into the herbal business. 

• Resident says he has been 'curing' people with his concoctions for around five years. 

Mourners at the home of Irene Situma one of the victims
TOOK IT FOR ULCERS: Mourners at the home of Irene Situma one of the victims

A herbal concoction claimed to cure most diseases is believed to have killed three people in Bungoma county. 

Five others were hospitalised after taking the blend at the weekend from a herbalist in Tabani in Tongaren constituency. 

The three died minutes after taking the concoction while two were rushed to Moi Referral Hospital. Another person is in critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit. Two others are recovering at home. 

Irene Situma and her mother-in-law are said to have taken the substance after being convinced that it would cure her recurring ulcers. The mother-in-law is in hospital. 

"She has left us instead of getting healed," villager David Theuri Maina said.

Judith Situma, one of Situma's children, painfully narrated to the Star how she had been receiving treatment from the herbalist for chest-related complications for over two years before taking the deadly mixture. 

"Mum was my only remaining parent and it is sad we lost her. I don’t know what happened because it was not the first time she had visited the herbalist. We are baffled and actually don’t know what to do next,” Judith said.

Villagers are now calling upon security personnel to arrest the herbalist who has since gone into hiding. 

The herbalist, popularly known as Juma Dawa, around 50 years old, is said to be  a Ugandan national who has been residing in the village for about five years.

He came to Kenya where he married a girl from Tabani village where his in-laws gave him a piece of land. 

Resident Julius Wekesa told the Star that Dawa first came as a gardener of a prominent farmer in the region before he started the herbal business. 

Wekesa said the man is popular among residents because his herbs have been curing several people. 

He said Dawa receives many clients even from other counties. 

“His home has always been a beehive of activities with clients flocking it day and night.” 

Edited by R.Wamochie