Turkmenistan: Tainted salami fells cotton-picking troops

Salami - stock photo

Four soldiers in Turkmenistan have died after eating poisoned sausage intended as bait for stray cats and dogs, it seems.

The soldiers spent the day gathering cotton in the fields of Akbugday district, near the Iranian border, and went to a farm shop in search of refreshment. They found the sausage in a backroom fridge and, "deprived as they were of their normal army eating facilities", helped themselves, according to the emigre website Khronika Turkmenistana.

The shop lets local vets store chemicals and medicines in the fridge for the government's campaign to exterminate strays, along with salami laced with poison to be used as bait for the animals.

Two soldiers died on the spot and their comrades passed away in hospital. Police have detained a number of vets, local council employees and officials from the defence ministry. Apart from the deaths, investigators want to know why the soldiers were still being forced to pick cotton when Akbugday council proudly announced it had brought the whole harvest in by 27 October - Independence Day.

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