Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ebola: Liberia police fire on protesters

21 August 2014, 08:09

Monrovia - Police in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighbourhood, as the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa hit 1 350.

In the sprawling oceanfront West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces, witnesses said.

It was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire, though a Reuters photographer saw a young boy with his leg largely severed just above the ankle.

Also Read: Vietnam releases two Nigerians isolated for Ebola tests

Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighbourhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.

"The soldiers are using live rounds," said army spokesperson Dessaline Allison, adding: "The soldiers applied the rules of engagement. They did not fire on peaceful citizens. There will be medical reports if [an injury] was from bullet wounds."

Worst ever outbreak

The World Health Organisation said that the countries hit by the worst ever outbreak of the deadly virus were beginning to suffer shortages of fuel, food and basic supplies after shipping companies and airlines suspended services to the region.

The epidemic of the hemorrhagic fever, which can kill up to 90% of those it infects, is ravaging the three small West African states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It also has a toehold in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and most populous country.

Also Read: Liberia's Ebola clampdown turns violent as official evacuated

Liberia - where the death toll is rising fastest - said its ministry of health warehouse had run out of rubber boots and bottles of hand sanitiser, essential for preventing the spread of the disease.

Still struggling to recover from a devastating 1989-2003 civil war, Liberia recorded 95 deaths in the two days to 18 August, the World Health Organisation said. Since it was discovered in remote south-eastern Guinea in March, the overall death toll from the outbreak has reached 1 350 from a total of 2 473 cases.

West point clashes

Witnesses said the clashes in West Point started after security forces early on Wednesday blocked roads to the neighbourhood with tables, chairs and barbed wire. Security forces also came in to escort the local commissioner out of the neighbourhood, they said.

Attempts to isolate the worst affected areas of the country and neighbouring Sierra Leone have raised fears of unrest in one of the world's poorest regions should communities start to run low on food and medical supplies.

"I don't have any food and we're scared," said Alpha Barry, a resident of West Point who said he came from Guinea and has four children under age 13.

In an effort to calm tensions, authorities on Wednesday started delivering tonnes of rice, oil and essential foodstuffs to West Point, residents and a government official said.

The World Food Programme has begun emergency food shipments to quarantined zones where a million people may be at risk of shortages. The WHO has appealed to companies and international organisations to continue providing supplies and services to countries at risk, saying there was a low risk of contagion.

Fear factor high

The Ebola outbreak is putting off thousands of tourists who had planned trips to Africa this year, especially Asians, including to destinations thousands of miles from the nearest infected community such as Kenya and South Africa.

Containing the outbreak requires large numbers of specialist staff to map the epidemic, track people who have had contact with sufferers, and to work in isolation and treatment centres.

The WHO has pledged to massively scale up the international response, but so far there has been only a trickle of additional foreign healthcare workers to affected nations.

Also Read: UK and Wellcome offer $10 mln for emergency Ebola research

"The fear factor is high," Francis Kasolo, the coordinator of a WHO sub-regional Ebola outbreak coordination centre told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We try and try. It is an ongoing process. The offer is not large. And they have to be the right profile of person."

West Point residents said they were given no warning of the blockade, which prevented them from getting to work or buying food. Many people in impoverished parts of Monrovia buy food to eat each day rather than stocking it.


Residents also said the closure immediately caused prices of basic goods, including drinking water sold in sachets, to soar.

"We just saw it [the blockade] this morning. We came out and we couldn't go anywhere. I haven't heard from anybody in authority what happened," Barry, 45, who works as a money changer, told Reuters.

The task authorities face is made harder by misinformation. One West Point resident told Reuters the government had sealed off the neighbourhood in order to bring the disease in.

Also Read: Drug for Ebola-like virus promising in ill monkeys

A crowd at West Point looted a temporary holding centre for suspected Ebola cases at the weekend, 17 of whom fled. All 17 were now accounted for and being treated, and the government has abandoned plans for the centre due to fierce resistance.

Meanwhile, Democratic Republic of Congo has sent its health minister and a team of experts to the remote Equateur province after several people died there from a disease with Ebola-like symptoms, a local official and a professor said.

It was not immediately clear if there was any connection with Ebola.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...