Killer Brew Bar Owner, Karaya Detained for 20 Days

The quiet villages of Mwea, Kirinyaga County, have been thrust into mourning and chaos following the consumption of a deadly brew, resulting in the loss of at least 13 lives and leaving several others blinded. John Muriithi Karaya, known as ‘California,’ finds himself at the center of this grim saga, as authorities link him to the fatal concoction.

The fateful incident unfolded on February 6, when unsuspecting individuals imbibed what is suspected to be expired alcohol, allegedly sourced from California Bar, an establishment owned by Karaya. The aftermath of this deadly indulgence was nothing short of catastrophic, with six victims succumbing within their homes and the remainder meeting their demise in hospitals after complaining of excruciating stomach pains and vomiting.

In response to the calamity, enraged residents of Kangai village took matters into their own hands, storming California Bar and setting it ablaze in a fit of fury and grief. Property destruction ensued as crates of beer and furnishings were reduced to ashes, marking a stark symbol of the community’s anguish and outrage.

The toll of this tragedy extends beyond the lives lost. At least four individuals have been left partially blind, underscoring the grievous consequences of consuming the toxic brew. As investigations unfold, authorities are grappling with the identification of the brew’s contents, heightening concerns over the proliferation of illicit alcohol and its associated dangers.

Amidst the chaos, legal proceedings have commenced, with Karaya facing detention for 20 days following a successful application by the prosecution. The Baricho Law Courts granted permission for Karaya’s confinement at Kiamaciri police station as investigations into the matter progress. The gravity of the situation has prompted urgent action from law enforcement and regulatory bodies, with the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) issuing a stern warning to the public against consuming unverified alcohol.

Dr. Anthony Omerikwa, CEO of Nacada, voiced alarm at the rising tide of alcohol-related deaths and urged county governments to bolster efforts in regulating alcohol outlets to prevent further tragedies. His sentiments echo the sentiments of many, as communities reel from the devastating impact of illicit alcohol.

As families grapple with unbearable loss, the stark reality of the dangers posed by illicit brews looms large. Among the deceased are six family members, their lives cut short by a fatal indulgence. Kerugoya County health authorities, led by George Karoki, mourn the loss of lives and offer support to grieving families in the wake of this profound tragedy.

In the midst of grief and turmoil, the Mwea community finds itself united in mourning and resolve. The events of February 6 serve as a somber reminder of the dangers lurking within seemingly innocuous indulgences, sparking a renewed call for vigilance and regulatory action to safeguard against further loss. As the investigation unfolds, the quest for justice and accountability remains paramount in the pursuit of closure and healing for a community thrust into darkness by the scourge of illicit alcohol.


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