The general Town Chief of Kissi Camp, Upper Johnsonville near Kpekpeh Town, over the weekend informed the Daily Observer that several dogs in the community have torn the plastic wrapped around corpses of Ebola victims and are now feeding on parts of the corpses exposed to them.
As such, Town Chief Tamba Tengbeh expressed fear of the subsequent outbreak of other diseases in the area since some of dogs are domesticated and could cause harm to the already frightened community dwellers.
Chief Tengbeh, in an exclusive interview with this newspaper on Sunday, also complained that the more than 2,000 residents of the area have been suffering an offensive odor of rotting corpses since the bodies were dumped in the nearby Kpanwein River by authorities from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) without proper burial.
To that effect, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, told this newspaper via mobile phone a week ago that there is no corpse exposed to create a health hazard or environmental concerns for the Johnsonville residents.
He maintained that the MIA bought the parcel of land on which the dead bodies were dumped, and with that, “nobody can tell anybody that the bodies will be removed since they have been under the ground for several weeks.”
MIA has up to date not disclosed to this paper the name of the person who sold the parcel of land on which the bodies were dumped; nor have they disclosed the amount on money that was involved in the deal since the land was indeed found to be private property, owned by one Joseph F. Dolo and others. Mr. Dolo’s ownership to the parcel of the land in question has been confirmed by his initials marked on his cornerstones. His father, Emmanuel T. Cole, has also denied any knowledge of the MIA ‘land transaction’.
Cognizant of the health hazard upon the community dwellers as dogs were now feeding on some of corpses, Chief Tengbeh has with great fear for the spread of the disease, instructed some of the ‘vulnerable’ youths to cover the exposed bodies with red dirt.
He has appealed for government intervention to resolve the impasse in the community.
Compounding the problems for the residents and the entire community, Chief Tengbeh said they lack safe drinking water and have also not been provided any Ebola preventive and protective materials.
According to him, some of the dogs that fed on those bodies have died, although this paper is yet to confirm that part of the report.
Guarded by heavily armed platoons of officers from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Police Support Unit (PSU) several weeks ago, two mini trucks conveyed the corpses of Ebola victims to be buried in Johnsonville.
This dumping of about 45 bodies on the bank of the Kpan-wein River under the heavy guard of police and soldiers immediately created a stampede, with people running in all directions, for fear of being contaminated or afflicted with the Ebola disease.
The plan had been to bury the bodies in mass graves dug by a hired yellow machine. But the machine unfortunately got stuck in the mud, where the property meets the mangrove. The yellow machine is yet to be removed since its owner has since gone into hiding for fear of being attacked by the Ebola virus.
The Kpanwein River connects the Kpeh-Kpeh Town Community to Whein Town in the east and Chicken Soup Factory on Somalia Drive in the west, as well as Upper and Lower Johnsonville, and many other communities in and around Monrovia.
Since the first truckload of corpses arrived Saturday, August 2, residents of the nearby communities vehemently rejected the use of their land to dispose of the bodies.
An aggrieved Kpeh-Kpeh Town resident, Carey Daniel, told the Daily Observer that the exact plot of land where the graves are dug is a wetland on the bank of a river that is a source of water for many communities around there. They fear that their wells —from which they get water for drinking and domestic use – will definitely be contaminated, exposing them to the same deadly Ebola and other diseases.
Meanwhile, for fear that those dogs might spread the disease among the residents, many inhabitants have reportedly fled to other parts of Monrovia.