Ebola Update: Liberian Forces Receive Shoot Orders Against People Trying to Cross from Sierra Leone Border
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 20, 2014 9:46 AM EST
Liberia's military troops have been given explicit orders to shoot people trying to cross the border from Ebola-afflicted neighbour Sierra Leone.
Workers from Doctors Without Borders unload emergency medical supplies to deal with an Ebola outbreak in Conakry, Guinea, March 23, 2014. REUTERS
Local newspaper Daily Observer, citing Colonel Eric Dennis, reported Monday Liberian soldiers have orders to "shoot on sight" any person trying to cross the border. The soldiers were stationed in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, which border Sierra Leone.
Just over the weekend, 17 patients afflicted with Ebola escaped a quarantine centre in the capital after an attack was staged against the clinic. The attackers were mostly young men armed with clubs.
Information Minister Lewis Brown admitted the patients have yet to be found. He also said the attackers took with them mattresses and bedding that were "soaked with fluids from the patients."
"All those hooligans who looted the centre are all now probable carriers of the disease," Brown said. "To quarantine the area could be one of the solutions. We run the risk of facing a difficult to control situation."
A number of Liberians strongly believed the Ebola outbreak was just a reason used by the government to secure foreign aid, according to the Daily Observer.
Colonel Samuel Mulbah, Liberia's immigration commander, said Grand Cape Mount county alone had 35 known "illegal entry points" which pose a major health threat "because we don't know the health status of those who cross at night."
As of Aug 15, a total of 2,127 cases have been reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, of which 1,145 were deaths.
Joanne Liu, international president of Doctors Without Borders, told reporters last week in Geneva it will take months before health experts finally get to control the deepening Ebola spread.
Liberia had closed weeks ago its borders with Sierra Leone in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak.
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