Liberia’s armed forces have reportedly been given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighbouring Sierra Leone, which was closed to stem the spread of Ebola.
Soldiers stationed in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, which border Sierra Leone, were to ‘shoot on sight’ any person trying to cross the border, said deputy chief of staff, Colonel Eric Dennis, according to local newspaper the Daily Observer.
The order comes after border officials reported people continued to cross the porous border illegally.
Grand Cape Mount county had 35 known ‘illegal entry points,’ according to immigration commander Colonel Samuel Mulbah.
Illegal crossings were a major health threat, said Mulbah, ‘because we don’t know the health status of those who cross at night’.
Liberia closed its borders with Sierra Leone weeks ago in an attempt to contain the Ebola outbreak, which killed more than 1100 people in west Africa.
The announcement came after residents of a slum near the capital broke into an isolation centre and freed up to 30 Ebola patients, local newspaper Front Page Africa reported.
‘As I speak the police station is deserted. There is no security now in West Point,’ resident Moses Teah was quoted as saying.
The break-in to protest poor conditions at Ebola quarantine centres has raised fears that the deadly virus will spread in the slum.