With the Christmas and New Year celebrations just a few days away, the deadly Ebola virus is said to be raging in several towns and villages in Guinea bordering Nimba, posing a serious threat to lives and normal activities in Nimba County.
The Daily Observer has learned that close to 20 persons died of Ebola in two Guinean villages close to the Liberian border and the Arcelor Mittal concession area.
In the Guinean town of Nyanizoo, 13 persons allegedly died from Ebola within a week, while in Teo town, also in Guinea, five persons suspected of Ebola died.
Teo and Nyanizoo are located at the border with Liberia around the Yarmin Administrative District, where Yekepa is situated.
According to residents of Yekepa, relatives of those who died in Teo continue to cross over to Guinea to sympathize with their bereaved family. Some of the sympathizers are suspected of contracting the disease and are presently undergoing treatment at the Ganta ETU.
A lady from Yekapa, who upon hearing the news of her relative’s death in Teo went there and brought back her 9yr old daughter who had been residing in Teo. A few days after they entered Liberia, the child became sick. A day later, the mother too became ill and both of them were taken to the Ganta Ebola Treatment Unit where they were confirmed positive.
People living around the border are blaming the national security for not doing enough to man the border and prevent illegal crossings.
Most of the border posts near the concession areas and other parts of Nimba’s border with Guinea are said to be still active despite the closure of the border.
In Ganta, illegal crossing intensified after some citizens of a town called Gbouyee opened their own crossing point to smugglers, but last week, the joint security in Ganta destroyed several rafts with no arrest made.
News also filtering from the two affected Guinean towns said the citizens are still denying the existence of Ebola, blaming the deaths in the town to witch craft instead.
Some Nimba citizens observe that because the border is so porous and without the presence of armed security, certain people continue to cross over in willful disregard of the closure.
Meanwhile two Ebola positive cases from Yekepa are at the Ganta ETU while over 25 suspected cases were reported to be quarantined in a special camp built by Arcelor Mittal.