Ebola-hit Sierra Leone arrests 13 at unsafe burial

2015-04-07 16:41
A health worker from Sierra Leone's Red Cross Society Burial Team 7 carries a child in Freetown. (Francisco Leong, AFP)

A health worker from Sierra Leone's Red Cross Society Burial Team 7 carries a child in Freetown. (Francisco Leong, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Freetown - Police in Ebola-hit Sierre Leone have raided a funeral and arrested 13 people suspected of organising an unsafe burial, officers said.

Police superintendent Da Samah said "heavily-armed" police arrived just in time to stop a 50-year-old man being interred on the outskirts of Freetown after they were tipped off about the ceremony.

"We stopped the burial and we have put out an alert for an ambulance which eyewitnesses said brought the corpse to the cemetery," he told AFP.

"We arrested those present because there was no burial permit nor any documents relating to the burial."

Health authorities in Freetown have recorded 3 832 of more than 10 000 Ebola deaths in the outbreak, which began in southern Guinea in December 2013 before spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting or the recently deceased.

Palo Conteh, the national Ebola response chief, said traditional funeral rights involving contact with the dead remained the biggest driver of Ebola transmission.

Unsafe burials were common at the start of the epidemic but the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show just one was reported in Sierra Leone in the week to March 29.

Alimamy Kamara, head of the Ebola Response Centre in charge of Freetown and the surrounding area, said last week that people organising unsafe burials risked two year jail terms.

"People should adhere to the government policy of safe and dignified burials so that we can end the high rate of transmission of the Ebola virus," he said.

As of Sunday, 25 516 had contracted the virus and 10 573 had died, according to the WHO.

Read more on:    who  |  sierra leone  |  west africa  |  ebola

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.