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Nine dead in Vietnam after eating traditional Hmong cakes

DATELINE: HANOI, March 17, 2002 Sunday

Nine people from the Hmong minority have died in three separate incidents in Vietnam's northern mountains after eating maize-meal cakes that form a staple part of the hilltribe's traditional cuisine, a state-run daily said Sunday.

The authorities are still at loss to explain the spate of food poisonings in the Meo Vac district of Ha Giang province, the armed forces newspaper Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) said.

Seven of the deaths have been definitely linked with the cakes, known in Vietnamese as ban troi or banh ran.

The precise cause of death of the other two has yet to be confirmed, although they showed the same symptoms.