Liberia Troops Fire on Protesters as West Africa’s Ebola Toll Hits 1,350

Clair MacDougall and James Harding Giahyue, Reuters, August 27, 2014

Security forces in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighborhood, as the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa hit 1,350.

In the sprawling oceanfront West Point neighborhood of Monrovia, at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces, witnesses said. It was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire, though a Reuters photographer saw a young boy with his leg largely severed just above the ankle.

Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighborhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.

“The soldiers are using live rounds,” said army spokesman Dessaline Allison, adding: “The soldiers applied the rules of engagement. They did not fire on peaceful citizens. There will be medical reports if (an injury) was from bullet wounds.”

The World Health Organization said that the countries hit by the worst ever outbreak of the deadly virus were beginning to suffer shortages of fuel, food and basic supplies after shipping companies andĀ airlinesĀ suspended services to the region.

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