Bodies of health team found in Guinea as Ebola crisis escalates

The eight bodies of a team of health workers and journalists who went missing on Tuesday in Guinea have been found in a village latrine, according to government spokesperson said.

Albert Damantang Camara told the Reuters news agency that “three of them had their throats slit”. The team had gone missing on Tuesday when they had gone into rural Guinea to raise awareness on Ebola and its dangers.

The team consisted of local administrators, medical officers, a preacher and three local journalists.

They had arrived at the village of Wome which is near the origin point of the outbreak, and were attacked with thrown stones by villagers, where many remained suspicious of foreign health workers. Although a government delegation led by the health minister tried to reach them, angry residents destroyed bridges leading to the village.

A resident who was present at the meeting known only as ‘Yves’, gave his account of what happened: “The meeting started off well; the traditional chiefs welcomed the delegation with 10 kola nuts as a traditional greeting. It was afterwards that some youths came out and started stoning them. They dragged some of them away and damaged their vehicles.”

The bodies were eventually found in the septic tank of a primary school in the village, with Camara adding that the victims had been “killed in cold blood by the villagers”.

Although the motive for the killings is unclear, it has been known that people in the region have tended to distrust health workers and be uncooperative with authorities, both out of fear and a lack of knowledge.

Last month, there were riots in the same area when rumours had spread that medics were disinfecting a market and contaminating people.

Since Thursday, the situation is escalating as President Francois Hollande said that France was setting up a military hospital in Guinea to support the African nations affected by the outbreak, and the World Health Organisation has revealed that more than 700 new cases of Ebola have emerged in the space of one week.

A three-day lockdown is started in Sierra Leone in order to stop the disease spreading any further.

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