Wild fruit kills Mpika toddler on birthday

Wild fruits like this one could be deadly

Wild fruits like these could be deadly

By Ernest Mwape-A two year old toddler has died in TAZARA Township in Mpika in the Northern Province after a wild plumlike fruit locally known as lufungo choked him.

Father to the deceased, Ackim Sichivula and Mpika police sources confirmed the death of the child today.

Sichivula disclosed that his son Lawrence was pronounced dead on arrival at TAZARA Residential Clinic yesterday October the 9th which was his birthday.

Narrating the incident, Sichivula said his mother or bana kulu Mpundu had just arrived from Kasongo village with some imfungo in her carrier bag.

He explained that his mother decided to bring some imfungo with her because she wanted them (Sichivula family) to sample the fruit which was not yet in abundance and that at the moment it was very expensive.

“My mother decided to bring some imfungo with her because she wanted us to sample the fruit which is not yet in abundance and at the moment it is very expensive,” Sichivula explained.

As the mother (bana kulu Mpundu) placed the carrier bag in the house, added Sichivula, young Lawrence collected one fruit and chewed it in the process it slipped into his gullet throttling him.

He said when they realized that the child was choked; they rushed him to Residential Clinic where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Sichivula who had bought some goodies for Lawrence’s birthday said it was devastating because at the time the family was supposed to celebrate his birth; it was the day the family was in bereavement.

Imfungo is a seasonal wild fruit which is harvested around this period of the season and is widely found in most districts in Northern Province.

The fruit is dangerous to both young and adult persons because the seed is slippery and could easily slide in the gullet and cause death.

The body of the child is lying in Mpika district mortuary awaiting burial.

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