A court in Guinea sentenced 11 people to life in prison for murdering a team educating locals about the risks of Ebola in a remote part of the West African country last year, according to a state prosecutor. The victims included local administrators, two medical officers, a pastor and three journalists who had come under attack by a stone-throwing mob in Womey before their murder.
Reports say the bodies of eight of the victims were discovered in September 2014 in Womey, a village near the city of Nzerekore around 1,000 km (620 miles) southeast of the capital Conakry. Some had been hacked to death with machetes or had their throats slit before their bodies were thrown into latrines, witnessesatthetrialinNzerekoresaid. At the trial were 26 defendants, among them, a group consisting of 11 was sentenced to life in prison for murder and conspiracy. The other 15 defendants were found innocent and released.
Since the Ebola virus first appeared in the forests of Guinea over a year ago, it has killed more than 10,000 people in Guinea and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia in the worst epidemic of the disease on record. Authorities have struggled to overcome widespread distrust, misinformation and stigma among residents, particularly in isolated areas, which have complicated efforts to contain the highly contagious disease.
- Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo
- There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation
- The current outbreak in West Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976
- Countries affected were Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, USA, Senegal and Mali
- On August 8, the WHO Director-General declared the West Africa outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the International Health Regulations (2005)
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