Locals in a remote village in Guinea who fear the invasion of “foreigners” who are coming to aid the country’s Ebola victims are accused of murdering eight healthcare workers and dumping their bodies in a latrine.
Fox News is reporting on the deaths which are believed to be the first resulting from local resistance to increasing international efforts to stem the Ebola outbreak in that country. The aid workers were part of a delegation that included doctors and journalists who were trying to raise awareness of the disease. When they arrived near the village of Womme, in southern Guinea, residents began pelting the team with stones, causing them to scatter into the brush.
One journalist who hid and managed to escape, said she could hear villagers looking for them as they hid. Those who were found were killed with machetes and clubs and their bodies thrown into the village latrine.
“It’s very sad and hard to believe, but they were killed in cold blood by the villagers,” said government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara.
This is the first time aid workers have been murdered, but distrust of foreigners among the locals is nothing new. Last month, riots erupted in Nzerekore, a village near Womme, after rumors spread that medics who were spraying a disinfectant in the area were actually contaminating it with Ebola.
As one local police officer, Richard Haba, told the LA Times, villagers believed that Ebola “is nothing more than an invention of white people to kill black people.”
Others simply don’t believe the disease exists at all.
Ebola first surfaced in March in southeastern Guinea, very near to the place where this latest and deadliest attack took place. It has now spread through the lower continent despite enormous international efforts to combat it.
Thus far, more than 5,350 people in West Africa have been infected with the disease with a little more than half – 2,600 – reported to have died.
“Security for aid workers, for clinics and hospitals, remains a concern in the region,” Fox reports. “All of the governments affected and the international agencies fighting the epidemic are trying to reach out to the rural communities where misinformation and fear have prevented effective measures to control the spread of Ebola. Until all of the areas with infections have been reached and controls implemented, a reservoir of Ebola will remain and continue to spread.”
The World Health Organization is warning that this Ebola outbreak, the worst in history, could infect more than 20,000 people before it begins to wane.
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