Armed men claiming that “there’s no Ebola” in Liberia raided a quarantine center for the deadly disease in Monrovia overnight, prompting at least 20 patients infected with the deadly virus to flee, a witness said Sunday.
Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after the looters chased off Ebola patients and took items including blood-stained sheets and mattresses.
“They broke down the door and looted the place. The patients have all gone,” said Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the attack and whose report was confirmed by residents and the head of Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams.
Williams said the unit housed 29 patients who were receiving preliminary treatment before being taken to a hospital. It was unclear how many are now at large.
“They had all tested positive for Ebola,” he said, adding that nine had died, without elaborating.
The violence in the West Point slum occurred late Saturday and was led by residents angry that patients were brought from other parts of the capital to the holding center, Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant health minister, said Sunday.
Liberian police restored order to the West Point neighborhood, which is home to an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 poor Liberians.
Ebola has killed 1,145 people in West Africa, including 413 in Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.
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