* Police use tear gas on crowd, one child shot
* President announces new measures to end Ebola in 90 days
* Runaway Ebola sufferer in Freetown dies in ambulance
(Recasts, adds Nigeria case, death of runaway Ebola victim)
By Umaru Fofana
FREETOWN, July 26 Police were guarding an Ebola
treatment centre in Sierra Leone on Saturday, the day after
thousands marched on the clinic following allegations by a
former nurse the deadly virus was invented to conceal
"cannibalistic rituals" there, a regional police chief said.
Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at least 660 people
have died from the illness, according to the World Health
Organisation, placing great strain on the health systems of some
of Africa's poorest countries.
The virus is still spreading. A Liberian man who died in
Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, tested positive for the
virus on Friday, Nigeria's health minister said.
Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases, at 454,
surpassing neighbouring Guinea where the outbreak originated in
Angry crowds gathered on Friday outside the country's main
Ebola hospital in Kenema in the West African country's remote
east where dozens are receiving treatment for the virus, and
threatened to burn it down and remove the patients.
Residents said police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds
and that a 9-year-old boy was shot in the leg by a police
Assistant Inspector General Alfred Karrow-Kamara said on
Saturday the protest was sparked by a former nurse who had told
a crowd at a nearby fish market that "Ebola was unreal and a
gimmick aimed at carrying out cannibalistic rituals".
He said calm had been restored to Kenema on Saturday, adding
that a strong armed police presence was in place around the
clinic and the local police station.
Some health workers from the clinic have been reported
absent from work because of "misconceptions by some members of
the community," according to a local doctor.
Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it,
although the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60
percent. Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, its
symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea as well as internal and
President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Saturday the government
planned to "intensify activities and interventions in containing
the disease and stopping it spread" with a view to ending the
disease within 60 to 90 days.
The new strategy will focus on contact tracing,
surveillance, communications and social mobilization, social
services, logistics and supplies, according to the president's
The WHO said previously that poor health infrastructure and
a lack of manpower were hindering efforts to contain the
outbreak in Sierra Leone. Another problem is fear and mistrust
of health workers among the local population, many of whom have
more faith in traditional medicine.
Sierra Leone officials appealed for help on Friday to trace
the first known resident in the capital with Ebola whose family
forcibly removed her from a Freetown hospital after she tested
positive for the deadly disease.
Amadu Sisi, senior doctor at King Harman hospital, from
which the patient was removed, said on Saturday she had been
turned in after seeking refuge in the house of a traditional
healer. She died in the ambulance on the way to another
hospital, he added later.
Health workers are now setting up a new Ebola treatment
centre in Lakka village, about 20 km (12 miles) south of
Freetown, to prepare for future cases near the capital.
(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Additional reporting by Adam
Bailes; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Stephen Powell and