By: Timothy T. Seaklon
An unspecified number of Ebola victims were finally buried yesterday in the Township of Johnsonville following three days of contention between security forces and community dwellers in the area.
According to community members, the burial of the victims in their area which they claimed is a private property is worrisome and could spark a serious health hazard especially since the bodies were left open since Saturday up to the time of their proper burial yesterday at about 3 p.m.
A source explained to the INQUIRER that the burial was delayed because the first bulldozer that was taken to the site for the job stuck in the mud thus prompting the hiring of a second bulldozer that finally did the job.
Madam Sando Menn who spoke to the INQUIRER few miles away from the burial site yesterday said since Saturday, the bodies were left covered with leaves , a situation that have brought about serious fear in the area.
She said passing through individuals’ yards with the bodies in trucks onward to the burial site was something more frightening to the residents. She further said anyone who protested for the trucks not to use their premises was met by serious police brutality.
“They beat my sister yesterday when she tried to stop them from passing in our yard but when they saw the journalists’ car approaching they jumped into their vehicle and left the scene,” she said.
However, when the INQUIRER reached the burial site yesterday a bulldozer was about to properly bury the Ebola victims a job which took about an hour and half as officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and some health workers looked on.
Another resident of the area said since Saturday, the bodies were left in a hole that was not properly excavated and when it rained some of the bodies were seen floating because the area is close to a water way close to the pipeline community.
When the Commissioner of Johnsonville was contacted at his office in the township, the INQUIRER was told that he had gone to Monrovia to attend to some important matters but when he was contacted via telephone, he denied knowing the site of the burial in the township.
Commissioner Melvin Bettie told the INQUIRER that when the Government of Liberia first proposed to bury the Ebola victims at the Johnsonville Cemetery, he rejected the idea because the spot is close to the school edifice in the area.
Commissioner Bettie said it was then that the government decided to find a place and he was later informed that the burial site was purchased by government from a private owner.
However, there is serious contention in the area by many citizens on ground that the place belongs to them and some are in process of erecting dwelling structures in the area.
The citizens are also worried that the burial site is a place that is in the water way and they are afraid that this might cause a serious health hazard.
A health worker who spoke the INQUIRER at the site also noted that after the burial, the place was sprayed and there is no need for the people of that locale to panic.