Three managers of a farm in Baringo where four people died from suspected food poisoning have appeared in court in Kabarnet.
The three, farm supervisors Paul Kinyua and Evans Oyugi, and manager Nelson Letite were arrested over the weekend and appeared before Kabarnet Resident Magistrate Viennah Omboko on Monday.
The prosecution pleaded for more time for a postmortem report and to prepare charges.
The court granted the prosecution 14 days and ordered the suspects be held at Marigat Police Station.
The arrests followed Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis’s call for authorities to speed up investigations into the deaths following the suspected food poisoning in Elmaine village, Ilchamus Ward in Baringo South which happened last Friday.
As of Monday, 10 patients were admitted to Mediheal and Moi Teaching and Referral hospitals in Eldoret where they were transferred after their conditions worsened.
Speaking at Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret, Governor Kiptis said that five patients had been transferred from Kabarnet Hospital.
He said that two of them are still in the ICU while three had been transferred to the general wards and are responding well to medication.
“At the moment, the number of those that have succumbed is four up from the initial two, and I am appealing to Baringo residents to remain calm as we try to get to the bottom of this. We have never experienced this massive food poisoning before,” said Mr Kiptis.
Dr Parag Patil, a consultant physician at Mediheal hospital, said that initial tests done on the five patients showed that they were suffering from organic-phosphorous compound poisoning.
“The extent of poisoning on the five we received here is really serious. We are continuing with the antidote treatment at the moment. For the ones in ICU, we will give them two to three days then transfer them to the general ward for reviewing,” said Dr Patil.
Dr Patil said that the poison had affected the nervous system, brain and the periphery systems of the victims.
“When they were brought in, the five were all drowsy, proof that their brains had been affected by the poison. But with the medication they are now improving,” said Dr Patil.
MTRH Chief executive, Dr Wilson Aruasa, confirmed that they received five of the victims and that they are in a stable condition.
Governor Kiptis called on the department of agriculture to visit all the irrigation schemes in the area and establish the source of the drug that the doctors have confirmed was used in the food poisoning.
According to Musa Kurgat, whose four brothers are hospitalised alongside other victims of the poisoning, the incident happened at a neighbour's onion plantation where they had been hired to dig irrigation trenches.
Mr Kurgat said shortly after they took Githeri for lunch at about 3pm on Friday, the labourers complained of excruciating stomach aches, continuous vomiting and pain in their mouths.
“My brothers had gone out to do some menial jobs in search some pocket money for the Christmas festivities. They are school boys and they also needed money ahead of school reopening in January,” said Mr Kurgat.
A total of 17 people who were working at the farm were rushed to the hospital after the Friday incident.
Four of them have since been confirmed dead.