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Locals in Guinea Village Kill Ebola Healthcare Workers

Update Date: Sep 19, 2014 06:12 PM EDT

Villagers in a Guinean town killed eight people including healthcare workers, allegedly due to fears that the group was spreading Ebola infection.

The incident came to light on Thursday when the bodies of murdered victims were discovered with injuries in a remote village close to the city of Nzerekore. Among the deceased were three journalists, two doctors working at local hospital, a preacher and two representatives of local administration. The team was in the village to carry out disinfection and awareness campaigns when it was attacked by some youths.

"The meeting started off well; the traditional chiefs welcomed the delegation with 10 kola nuts as a traditional greeting, It was later that some youths came out and started stoning them. They dragged some of them away, and damaged their vehicles," a local resident told The Guardian.

The team was reportedly attacked with machetes and clubs, indicated by the injuries on the bodies which were found dumped in a village toilet. Three bodies were found with slashed throats. A journalist who was part of the group but managed to escape, said the villagers first held them captive and later killed the group.

The Guinean government criticized the incident by calling it cold-blooded murder. "The eight bodies were found in the village latrine killed in cold blood by the villagers," government spokesperson Albert Damantang Camara told Reuters.

Fox News reported that six arrests have been made in the village which has been deserted after the incident. The government has also sent a team to ascertain the facts. While the actual reasons behind the attack are not known, it is being speculated that local distrust fuelled by the belief that foreigners were spreading Ebola, provoked irate villagers.

The incident is not the first of its kind. Earlier, Liberia witnessed instances when locals ransacked a hospital in capital Monrovia and helped Ebola patients flee after convincing them they were fooled into being sick. Ironically, in many areas worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, existence of the disease is questioned by locals. More than 2,500 people across five West African nations have died during the current outbreak.

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