Crowds attack Ebola facility, health workers in Guinea

Crowds destroyed an Ebola facility and attacked health workers in central Guinea on rumours that the Red Cross was planning to disinfect a school, a government spokesman said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Crowds destroyed an Ebola facility and attacked health workers in central Guinea on rumours that the Red Cross was planning to disinfect a school, a government spokesman said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Crowds destroyed an Ebola facility and attacked health workers in central Guinea on rumours that the Red Cross was planning to disinfect a school, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

Red Cross teams in Guinea have been attacked on average 10 times a month over the past year, the organisation said this week, warning that the violence was hampering efforts to contain the disease.

During the incident on Friday in the town of Faranah, around 400km east of the capital Conakry, angry residents attacked an Ebola transit centre and set ablaze a vehicle belonging to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

A Red Cross burial team was also targeted and forced to flee, said Fodé Tass Sylla, spokesman for the government campaign against the disease. "All this agitation aims to discourage our partners and to give the virus the upper hand. We won't accept that," he said.

"Everyone must understand that the fight we are leading requires the engagement of all citizens."

The number of new cases in Guinea nearly doubled last week to 64, according to World Health Organisation data, jeopardising a government plan to get to zero new cases by early March.

Over 2,000 people have died out of a total of around 3,000 cases of Ebola in Guinea, which along with Sierra Leone and Liberia is one of the three countries hardest hit by the worst epidemic of the disease on record.