Doctors Without Borders suspends its activities in Macenta
By Franck Felix Gutenberg, US Africa News. Updated 2014-04-11
The international humanitarian NGO, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has suspended its activities in Macenta, where it experienced a revolt by a crowd of citizens on Friday April 4, accusing it of being the origin of an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever, Guineenews learned from corroborating sources. The fever has already caused some 86 deaths in the country.
Citizens joining on a conference call by Guineenews testified that a storeront of the French NGO was vandalized, and equipment carried away. In downtown Macenta, the police were using warning shots to disperse the demonstrators.
The 'popular' revolt was triggered by a mother who complained to officials that MSF came disinfect her house after the death of one of her family. Like this woman, many of Macenta’s citizens are directing their hatred toward MSF, which they accuse of being at the base of the epidemic. "As soon as someone suffered any illness, they were sent to hospital." If the person was transferred to the MSF isolation center, they don’t come out alive," accused a citizen who joined the Friday night Guineenews call.
Some citizens of Macenta, epicenter of the epidemic with Gueckedou, feel that the media is dramatizing the issue. "When you follow the radio, you think that Macenta is unlivable. And yet, when you are there, you even have to ask where is this disease they’re talking about", a security officer confided in Friday night’s call.
On Saturday the head of the MSF mission in Guinea left Conakry for Macenta. According to the NGO spokesman, Sam Taylor, the director was going to meet with authorities and tribal leaders in the region. In the meantime, the NGO has suspended its activities since Friday, and Guinean doctors are caring for patients.
"MSF has very good relations with the local leaders as well as with the population. It is only a small part of the population who are accusing us of spreading Ebola in the prefecture. Something that is not true ", said Sam Taylor.