Around 27 people suspected of being part of the crowd of angry locals who murdered an eight-member Ebola education team in Guinea have been arrested by police officials, the country's government confirmed.
The victims, said to include local health officials and journalists, went missing after their delegation came under attack during an outreach visit in the southern town of Womey on Tuesday last week.
AdvertisementEight bodies were recovered from the septic tank of a nearby primary school two days later, according to the government.
"Most of the main perpetrators of these crimes have been placed under arrest -- a total of 27 people," Justice Minister Cheick Sacko told a news conference in the capital Conakry.
He said the suspects were being questioned in the southern city of N'Zerekore by the public prosecutor.
"The government will see this to the end. I promise to see that justice is done and to make the guilty pay the price for this inhuman tragedy," he added.
The deadliest Ebola epidemic on record has infected almost 6,000 people in west Africa and killed nearly half of them, according to the World Health Organization's latest figures.
The virus emerged in Guinea at the start of the year and has infected 1,008 Guineans, killing 632 of them.
The spread in Guinea has been accompanied by fear and paranoia by villagers who feel the government and the international community cannot be trusted.
Many Guineans believe local and foreign healthcare workers are part of a conspiracy which either deliberately introduced the outbreak, or invented it as a means of luring Africans to clinics to harvest their blood and organs.
Police lieutenant Richard Haba told AFP last week the outreach team was attacked by protesters who had come "to kill them because they think Ebola is nothing more than an invention of white people to kill black people".
At least 21 people were wounded during violent scenes in which the team was pelted with stones, according to local police.