Ebola fight: 200 dead found in weekend Sierra Leone lockdown, US troops head to Liberia
The second deployment of 3,000 troops is set to train local employees and establish institutions to help Liberia and other African nations deal with the epidemic that has already left 2,600 people dead in West Africa alone.
"Some American troops came soon [sic] this morning. They arrived with tactical jeeps," a source at Roberts International Airport, near Monrovia, told AFP, without giving more precise data on the number of soldiers.
However, the US announced on Friday that it was scheduling 45 troops to arrive over the weekend.
The operation is being carried out in several stages: first, on Thursday, a plane with equipment and seven soldiers landed in Liberia. Two more cargo planes are to follow. The teams are to set up a center for Major General Darryl Williams, who will oversee the US mission, training locals and establishing new medical facilities.
The newly-arrived US service members won’t have any contact with patients, according to the Pentagon.
Last week, US President Obama revealed the plan to deploy troops in West Africa, with Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf greeting the move, hoping that other countries would follow suit.
It comes on the backdrop of the Sierra Leone government ending the weekend lockdown after finding at least 200 people infected or dead in their homes by Monday, according to AFP.
The UN Security Council called the fatal epidemic a threat to world peace.
The symptoms of the deadly disease are severe muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. In many cases, the virus continues by shutting down organs and causing unstoppable bleeding.