Residents of Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone threw stones at a hospital and a police station, spurred by a rumor that health workers were using Ebola as a ruse to kill people and collect body parts, a police official said.
The rumor was spread by a mentally ill former nurse, now in custody, who went to the city’s main market and told people Ebola was a hoax, police Assistant Inspector General Karrow Kamara said by phone. Police had to use tear gas to stop the crowd from destroying the Kenema Government Hospital, he said.
“Many people are saying there is no Ebola, and some others have been calling for the relocation of the Ebola treatment unit outside the premise of the Kenema hospital,” Kamara said.
More than 600 people have died from the disease in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization. Nigeria said today a Liberian man died of the virus, the first case in Africa’s largest economy.