CONAKRY (Reuters) - Eight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
“The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit,” Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters by telephone in Conakry.
However, Guinea’s Prime Minister Mohamed Saïd Fofana, speaking in a television message that had been recorded earlier, said 7 bodies of 9 missing people had been found.
He said six people have been arrested following the incident, which took place on Tuesday in Wome, a village close to the town of Nzerekore, in Guinea’s southeast, where Ebola was first identified in March.
Since then the virus has killed some 2,630 people and infected at least 5,357 people, according to World Health Organization (WHO), mostly in Guinea, neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia. It has also spread to Senegal and Nigeria.
Authorities in the region are faced with widespread fears, misinformation and stigma among residents of the affected countries, complicating efforts to contain the highly contagious disease.
Fofana said the team that included local administrators, two medical officers, a preacher and three accompanying journalists, was attacked by a hostile stone-throwing crowd from the village when they tried to inform people about Ebola.
He said it was regrettable that the incident occurred as the international community was mobilizing to help countries struggling to contain the disease.
Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Ken Wills