Morocco says eight dead after drinking bootleg alcohol

RABAT, June 5, 2024 (AFP)
– Eight people in Morocco have died and dozens of others were hospitalised after drinking homemade liquor, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

“Serious complications from poisoning” led to the death of eight people in the town of Sidi Allal Tazi, about 100 kilometres (over 60 miles) north Rabat, said the regional health directorate.

More than 100 people in the town suffered from alcohol poisoning between Monday and Wednesday from consuming methanol, it said in a statement, with the health of 81 still being monitored.

Authorities said two suspects, aged 21 and 41, had been identified as those responsible for the bootleg alcohol and were among those hospitalised.

Homemade alcohol caused seven deaths in central Morocco’s Meknes last year and 19 deaths in the northern city Ksar El Kebir in 2022.

Moroccan law technically prohibits the sale of alcohol to Muslims, who make up 99 percent of the country’s population.

But it can easily be found in bars, restaurants or even in licensed stores which offer it for sale behind opaque windows and thick curtains.