Two people have been detained at the Correctional Centre in the northern town of Port Loko for having breached health emergency regulations in a district that has recently seen a surge in new Ebola cases. Pa Santigie Kamara and Mohamed Kamara were arrested on Sunday at their Water Street resident in Lungi on allegation that they had escaped from an Ebola quarantined home; a development said to have created panic among residents in that part of the country.
Local authorities in Port Loko and Kambia districts have come under serious pressure from the government and other stakeholders in the past couple of weeks after the two districts, including the Western Area, recently witnessed a spike in new Ebola cases, especially at a time when almost 90% of the country has been able to stem the virus.
Reports have it that even though President Ernest Bai Koroma recently ordered the imposition of a night curfew in the two districts, a good number of residents are reported not complying. “Kamara and his brother ran away from Lungi and came over to Port Loko after they realized that their resident has been quarantined,” a Port Loko resident, Abu Bakarr Kargbo told Concord Times in an interview. “This is a complete disrespect for authorities because remember that some months ago, the chiefs of this district introduced by-laws as a strategy to fight against the deadly Ebola but a good number of our brothers and sisters are still engaged in secret burials and other traditional practices. This is not helping the situation.”
The District Ebola Response Coordinator for Port Loko, Raymond Kabia, said they had embarked on a series of sensitization campaigns in the district but some people are still reluctant to commit themselves to finally eradicating the disease. He said the district had started recording zeros for weeks but the free and uncontrollable movement of people from one village to another saw a recurrence of positive cases in some parts of the district. “We have resolved to start sending to jail all those found guilty of breaking Ebola laws in the district,” said Mr. Kabia. “Any individual arrested for breaching the law will be sent to prison for six months.”