As the government and international partners intensify efforts against the deadly Ebola disease, the epidemic continues to spread in every loop and corner of the Liberian society on a daily basis.
The Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL has become the latest target of the tropical disease. According to credible information received by this paper, seven uniformed officers of the U.S-trained army, have been hit by the deadly virus and reportedly transferred to the JFK Ebola Treatment Center.
The information from the Camp Binyan Edward Kesselly Barracks, formerly Camp Schefflin located on the Roberts International Airport highway, the seven officers (names withheld) are currently at the John F. Kennedy Ebola holding center undergoing medical treatment.
Last Friday, a four-door pickup truck of the AFL was seen in front of the JFK Ebola holding center being disinfected by medical practitioners following the admission of the suspected AFL Ebola patients.
According to the information, a female visitor with the disease who had gone to the Barracks to visit one of the officers without realizing that she was carrying the virus, transmitted the disease to her host, further spreading it to six additional officers who were very close friends.
Another account had it that a woman, visiting the barracks recently from Tubmanburg City, Bomi County, had fallen ill and rushed to the military clinic for treatment at Camp Kesselly, when medical practitioners contracted the disease.
As a result of the outbreak at Camp Kesselly, the nation’s biggest barracks, the authorities headed by AFL Chief of Staff B/Gen. Daniel Zanigar yesterday ordered all non-military personnel out of the barracks with immediate effect or face eviction. Some parts of the Binyan Kesselly barracks were also quarantined by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for proper observation for 21 days.
“We are now living in total fear here, because we as soldiers do almost everything in common, ranging from training to lunch-sharing at times if deemed necessary by the commander,” our source said.
As the result of the outbreak, officers, who had earlier left the barracks apparently to visit family members and relatives in Monrovia and other parts of the country, are reportedly hesitant to return to to the military base, as their commanders continue to make both cell phone and radio calls to them on a daily basis.
“Some of our colleagues, who were lucky to have been out of here before the discovery of Ebola, are now refusing to come back, and I think they are right because here we do things together,” the sources further said.
When Assistant Defense Minister for Public Affairs was contacted via mobile phone, he could not confirm or deny the reports, but promised to do follow up to later get back to this paper with an official response. But up to press time late last evening, he failed to do so despite additional telephone calls to him.
Recently, 57 officers of the presidential Executive Protection Service or EPS were asked to stay off the job for 21 days for participating in the funeral of EPS Agent Ballah O. Dennis, who died on August 15, 2014 from the deadly Ebola disease. Also, sometimes in September, Ebola hits the central Police Barracks in Monrovia, leaving one dead and several other quarantined.