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21 die in Indonesia after drinking herbal remedy

Indonesian police are investigating the deaths of 21 people after they drank a concoction labeled as a herbal remedy, a spokesman said Friday.

Lt. Col. Yatim Suyatmo said officers had yet to determine whether the brew was deliberately poisoned or inadvertently contaminated during production.

The victims in the town of Jambi on Sumatra island all died over the last two weeks, he said, adding that the drink was made in a local factory.

Scores of companies in Indonesia produce pills and drinks labeled as herbal remedies or tonics. The government, which is seeking to regulate the sector, say many contain unspecified chemicals.

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