Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone clashes over market closure

Health workers wearing a protective suit treats Ebola patients in West Africa Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Ebola outbreak has killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone

Three people protesting about Ebola restrictions in Sierra Leone have been admitted to hospital after clashes with police, a doctor has told the BBC.

The three suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to a hospital in the northern Kambia district, he said.

Riots broke out after police closed a market in Barmoi town, where someone died of Ebola earlier this month.

The police denied firing at the protesters but admitted using teargas after their station was "attacked".

Police commander Francis Hazeley told the BBC that local leaders had agreed to stop trading in Barmoi in order to trace 43 missing people who may have had contact with the 22-year-old student who died of the virus - and stem the spread of it further.

So far only seven people who had contact with her have been found and quarantined, he said.

The commander said some youths in Barmoi were angered that the market day - a mainstay of the town's economy - had been cancelled and attacked and damaged the local police office.

Two of the injured are said to be in a serious condition and need to be taken to the capital, Freetown, for treatment.

Ebola deaths

Figures up to 13 January 2016


Deaths - probable, confirmed and suspected

(Includes one in the US and six in Mali)

  • 4,809 Liberia

  • 3,955 Sierra Leone

  • 2,536 Guinea

  • 8 Nigeria


Sierra Leone was declared free of the virus on 7 November, and the epidemic was thought to be at an end after Liberia was pronounced free of Ebola transmissions on 14 January.

But within hours of the declaration, the World Health Organization confirmed the Ebola death in Sierra Leone and a second case has since been identified.

Close to 4,000 people have died of Ebola in Sierra Leone, and 11,000 people across the region, since December 2013.

A country is considered free of human-to-human transmission once two 21-day incubation periods have passed since the last known case tested negative for a second time.

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