Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Two men face multiple charges of attempted murder in South Africa after around 90 children fell ill from eating drug-laced muffins.

Officials said the children bought the muffins from a street vendor on their way to Pulamadibogo Primary School, north-west of Pretoria.

Many were taken to hospital for nausea, stomach pain and vomiting. Three girls remain in hospital.

Two suspects, aged 21 and 19, were on Friday charged with attempted murder.

The Gauteng provincial education department said teachers had called an ambulance after noticing their children had begun “behaving strangely” in class.

It said the incident had caused considerable distress to parents who were worried about their children’s safety.

Police, who are conducting a toxicology report to confirm if cannabis was used, say more than 90 pupils received the muffins and suffered “serious pains”.

They were all sent to nearby medical facilities, and “about 87” have been discharged, the education department said in a statement.

“Only three girl learners remain in hospital, and they are still receiving the necessary medical attention to return to health,” it said.

Police named the suspects as Ofentse Maluleka, 21, and Amukelani Nyulunga, 19.

They appeared at the Soshanguve Magistrates’ Court on Friday charged with nine counts of attempted murder, “for selling muffins laced with a substance with narcotic effect, to children”.

They were remanded in custody pending a bail hearing.

Earlier this year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party called for better vetting processes for street vendors, after eight children were admitted to hospital having eaten so-called “space cookies” outside their school.

The party’s spokesman Khume Ramulifho also said he would pressure the provincial government to improve safety measures at school.

By Joy

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