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Wednesday 26 October 2016

Eleven handed life sentences over Guinea Ebola worker murders

Saliou Samb

Published 22/04/2015 | 12:14

Ebola health workers demand risk benefits promised by the government Credit: Zoom Dosso/AFP
Ebola health workers demand risk benefits promised by the government Credit: Zoom Dosso/AFP

Guinea has 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.

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The bodies of eight people were discovered in September in Womey, a village near the city of Nzerekore around 1,000 km 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, witnesses at the trial in Nzerekore said.

Read More: Guinea shuts border with Sierra Leone in new effort to stamp out Ebola

"There were 26 defendants. Among them, a group consisting of 11 was sentenced to life in prison," said prosecutor William Fernandez, who had requested the death penalty for charges including murder and conspiracy.

The other 15 defendants were found innocent and released.

The victims, who had come under attack by a stone-throwing mob in Womey before their murder, included local administrators, two medical officers, a pastor and three journalists.

Read More: Ebola report slams slow WHO response

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


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