Guinea Sentences 11 to Life in Prison for Killing Anti-Ebola Officials

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A court in Guinea has sentenced 11 men to life imprisonment for killing eight members of an anti-Ebola team in the southeastern village of Womey last September, a judicial source said.

The bodies of eight people were discovered in September in Womey, a village near the city of Nzerekore around 1,000 km southeast of the capital Conakry.

The 11 were also fined 137,000 U.S. dollars which will be used as compensation to the families of the victims. Fifteen other accused persons were acquitted by court for lack of sufficient evidence. Forty-two other people cited in this criminal case had not yet been found.

In mid-September last year, eight government and health personnel who had come to warn the village about dangers of the Ebola disease were killed by individuals who opposed their campaign.

Since the Ebola virus first appeared in the forests of Guinea over a year ago, it has killed more than 10,000 people in Guinea and neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia in the worst epidemic of the disease on record.

Authorities have struggled to overcome widespread distrust, misinformation and stigma among residents, particularly in isolated areas, which have complicated efforts to contain the highly contagious disease. Guinea is one of the West African countries that was hit hard by Ebola virus with 3,128 confirmed cases, out of which 1,939 have died.

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