Malaysia investigates strange deadly disease hinh anh 1Malaysian officials discuss the strange disease that killed 14 Batek indigenous people (Photo: Malaysiakini/VNA)


Hanoi (VNA) – The Malaysian authorities are working to identify the cause of a mystery illness that killed 14 indigenous people in an isolated village in northern Kelantan state.

Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said on June 10 explained that authorities are trying to locate the graves of 12 of the 14 indigenous people from the Batek tribe who had died over the past month.

He said the work is vital to post-mortem examination to determine the actual cause of their death.

Reports of the deaths emerged last week. The head of the village where the indigenous tribe lives claimed that mining has contaminated their water supply leading to illness and death.

The village, located deep in the state interior, is isolated, with many of its residents being buried in the jungle according to customary rites.

The authorities confirmed at least two of the 14 deaths were due to pneumonia. A total of 83 inhabitants of the indigenous village are being treated.

Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has warned that the government would punish any party found to have contaminated the source of drinking water used by the indigenous people.

Malaysia has 18 officially recognised indigenous tribes, with the Batek tribe being one of the smaller groups, which has a population of less than 2,000.-VNA