Latin America & Caribbean

Scores ill after Peru police base food poisoning case


More than 90 police officers at a jungle base in Peru have been taken to hospital with food poisoning.

The officers developed fever, nausea and stomach ache after eating chicken soup at Mazuco police base in Tambopata province, officials say.

Police said they would investigate the suppliers of the meals.

The officers had been deployed to the base to reinforce operations against illegal gold miners in the Madre de Dios area.

The police officer said 150 police had been taken to the medical post on the base, but many had to be moved to hospitals because the base did not have enough medication.

One of the officers who fell ill told local media he and his colleagues had been "poisoned with bad food, dirty meat, and eggs and fish that were off".

Mercury rising

Regional police chief Hector Dulanto said he would travel to the area to investigate the case.

The area has been the scene of violent clashes between the security forces and miners protesting against tougher penalties for illegal operations.

The miners say the new rules will put them out of work, but the government says the sanctions will encourage miners to get the necessary permits.

An estimated 50,000 miners do not have a licence to operate.

The government says large areas of jungle have been destroyed by illegal mining and high levels of mercury, which is used for mining, have been found in waterways.

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