New drug Bombe turning people into zombies as hundreds sleep standing up

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A devastating new drug created with exhaust filters is turning users into zombies and wreaking havoc in a city.

“Bombe” is being sold across Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Derived from crushed vehicle exhaust filters, it causes users to stand motionless for hours or sleep for days on end.

In August, police rounded up and paraded nearly 100 alleged dealers and Bombe users, which translates to “powerful” in the local Lingala language.

Cedrick, a 26-year-old gang leader, told the Reuters news agency: "We used to drink very strong whiskey…we were restless and we would hurt people.

"But with bombe, it calms you down, you get tired, you stay somewhere standing up or sitting down for a very long time.

“When you're done, you go home without bothering anyone."

The brown powder is obtained from crushing the ceramic honeycomb core of catalytic converters.

Users mix the crushed honeycomb with vitamin pills and typically add sleeping tablets, sedatives, or smoke it with tobacco.

Nothing is known about how it works, or its long-term effects, said Dandy Yela Y'Olemba, country director of the World Federation against Drugs.

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The metals in catalytic converters can cause cancer, Yela warned.

"It's not a substance made for us to consume," Yela said. "Are we engines, or are we humans?"

Mechanics have blamed the rising demand for the drug on a rash of thefts of catalytic converters.

Toxicologist Prof. Ndelo Di Panzu earlier told Radio Okapi: “Once they consume it, young people become like zombies.

“The state of unconsciousness sets in, their gait changes, they sleep standing up, they start scratching their arms.

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“Their facial expression changes as well, sometimes they cry, and sometimes they laugh, for no apparent reason.”

Another user told German newspaper Der Spiegel that they had to mix the drugs with appetite-boosting pills.

They said: “If we didn’t include them, we wouldn’t eat anything for two days.”

Another added: “Bombe helps us forget everything. In the West, they have bank accounts, I have nothing. With bombe everything is easier.”

  • Drugs

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