Guinea police have arrested 27 suspects over the murders of an eight-member Ebola education team attacked by locals last week, the government said,
“Most of the main perpetrators of these crimes have been placed under arrest – a total of 27 people,” Justice Minister Cheick Sacko told a news conference in the capital Conakry.
He said the suspects were being questioned in the southern city of N’Zerekore by the public prosecutor.
The victims, said to include local health officials and journalists, went missing after their delegation came under attack during an outreach visit in the southern town of Womey on Tuesday last week.
Eight bodies were recovered from the septic tank of a nearby primary school two days later, according to the government.
“The government will see this to the end. I promise to see that justice is done and to make the guilty pay the price for this inhuman tragedy,” he added
Fear and paranoia
The deadliest Ebola epidemic on record has infected more than 6,000 people in West Africa and killed nearly half of them, according to the World Health Organisation’s latest figures released on Thursday.
At least 2,917 people have died of Ebola out of 6,263 cases in the five West African countries affected by the disease, the WHO said.
The virus emerged in Guinea at the start of the year and has infected 1,008 Guineans, killing 632 of them.
The spread in Guinea has been accompanied by fear and paranoia by villagers who feel the government and the international community cannot be trusted.
Many Guineans believe local and foreign healthcare workers are part of a conspiracy which either deliberately introduced the outbreak, or invented it as a means of luring Africans to clinics to harvest their blood and organs.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has cleared all patients under surveillance for the Ebola virus, the federal health ministry said on Wednesday.
“There is nobody again under surveillance for the Ebola virus in any part of Nigeria. All those under surveillance have completed their mandatory 21-day period stipulated by the WHO,” ministry’s spokesman Dan Nwomeh told AFP, referring to the World Health Organization.
The situation remains dire elsewhere in the region.
The WHO has warned that the number of cases in West Africa could explode while the United States Center for Disease Control said 1.4 million people could be infected by January 2015.