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Bodies of attacked doctors & journalists found in Guinea

The victims went missing on Tuesday in the southern city of Nzerekore where the Ebola outbreak began.

FILE: Liberian Red Cross health workers wearing protective suits carry the body of a victim of the Ebola virus out of a garage on 10 September, 2014 in a district of Monrovia. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The bodies of six doctors and journalists who were attacked by villagers in Guinea while trying to raise awareness about Ebola have been found.

A journalist who was with them and managed to escape says she heard the angry mob searching for their victims in the southern city of Nzerekore.

The victims went missing on Tuesday where the Ebola outbreak began. They were attacked by villagers who believe that diagnosis means certain deaths.

In a rare piece of good news, the latest data showed no new deaths in Sierra Leone in the one day since the previous update.

The government in Sierra Leone has locked down the country, limiting movements for three days from midnight on Thursday. It said extreme measures are needed to contain the outbreak.

"Avoid touching each other, avoid eating bush meat, avoid visiting the sick, avoid attending funerals, report illnesses and deaths to the nearest health facility," President Ernest Bai Koroma said in an address to the nation ahead of the start of the lockdown.

"We know some of the things we are asking you to do are difficult. But life is better than these difficulties," he said.

However, many people fear the decision will bring more hardship to a nation that is already one of the poorest on earth and critics also question whether it will even be effective.

At the same time, the United Nations unveiled plans on Thursday for a special mission to combat the worst Ebola epidemic on record in West Africa, as the death toll hit 2,630 and France became the latest Western nation to step up its support.

French President Francois Hollande announced the deployment of a military hospital to remote Forest Region of southeastern Guinea, where the outbreak was first detected in March.

Since then the virus has infected at least 5,357 people, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), mostly in Guinea, neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. It has also spread to Senegal and Nigeria.

With fragile West African healthcare systems overrun by the outbreak, Hollande said France's response would not be limited to contributing to €150 million in aid promised by European Union nations.

"We must save lives," he told a news conference. "I have asked the defense minister to coordinate this action and to include military doctors and the civil protection agency plus air support."

US President Barack Obama, calling the disease a threat to global security, promised this week the deployment of 3,000 US troops to help contain the epidemic. Britain also announced on Wednesday it would help to provide a further 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone, its former colony.

One of the most deadly diseases, there is no known cure for the hemorrhagic fever, though development of several treatments and vaccines is being fast-tracked.

(Editd by Leeto M Khoza)