Zim withdraws peacekeepers over Ebola

via Zim withdraws peacekeepers over Ebola – DailyNews Live 8 August 2014

HARARE – Zimbabwe is withdrawing all peacekeeping personnel from Liberia where the Ebola has broken out, President Robert Mugabe has said.

Mugabe cited the “increasing” spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the country’s decision to withdraw its uniformed forces on a UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia temporarily.

He spoke as Liberian lawmakers gathered to ratify a state of emergency, while Sierra Leone sent troops to guard hospitals and clinics handling Ebola cases.

Mugabe told the 96th Zanu PF Central Committee conference in Harare on Wednesday that the decision was reached after consultations with the ministry of Health and Child Care.

David Parirenyatwa, the Health and Child Care minister, had initially suggested that Zimbabwe should stay the withdrawal as the government had just dispatched a doctor to
Liberia to help out in the fight against the deadly virus.

“But this morning, quite clearly, he said he had re-thought the matter, perhaps we should withdraw our people and these don’t just include police officers, but there are said also to be prison officers,” he said.

The Liberia-based Zimbabwean contingent consists of police and prison officers and Mugabe said they were not panicking but taking a precautionary measure.

The withdrawal comes hours after an aid group on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa announced it was evacuating nonessential personnel as two of its workers fight to survive the deadly infection.

More than 1 000 people have contracted the virus in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in what experts have called the largest ever Ebola outbreak. At least 672 people have died, according to WHO.

More than 100 health care workers from various organisations have contracted Ebola in West Africa and at least 50 have died, according to the organisation.

A spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders said that the group has no plans to pull out their estimated 300 medical workers out of West Africa.