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More than 50 new Ebola cases in Sierra Leone lockdown

More than 50 new cases found in Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown Credit: Reuters

At least 56 new cases and 92 bodies have been discovered in Sierra Leone's Ebola lock down.

There is a "very strong possibility" the national curfew will be extended beyond the scheduled finish later today, an emergency official has said.

Sierra Leone is staging a three-day lockdown aimed at stemming the worst Ebola epidemic on record.

Sierra Leone locked down for three days to battle Ebola

Thousands of health workers were conducting house-to-house visits today across Sierra Leone in search of hidden Ebola cases as the entire country was ordered to stay at home for three days.

In an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease, authorities hope to find and isolate Ebola patients who have not gone to health centres, regarded by many only as places to die.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma said health workers would hand out soap and that once a house had been checked it would be marked with a sticker. "The survival and dignity of each and every Sierra Leonean is at stake ... this is a fight for this land that we love," he said.

Ebola has so far killed more than 2,600 people have died across West Africa.

Meanwhile, six people have been arrested following the murders in Guinea of eight people including health officials and journalists who had been on an Ebola awareness campaign. Just one member of the group escaped the killers.

A football fan sanitises his hands in Abidjan ahead of Sierra Leone's African Nations Cup game against Ivory Coast earlier this month. Both countries have been hit by the Ebola virus. Credit: Luc Gnago/Reuters

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British firm evacuates workers after Ebola outbreak

A British mining company has evacuated a number of "non-essential" workers from Sierra Leone following an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the west African country.

Colourised transmission electron micrograph reveals some of the morphology displayed by an Ebola virus. Credit: Press Association Images/Frederick Murphy

London Mining said it imposed travel restrictions in the region around its Marampa mine and was closely monitoring the situation with health chiefs and international agencies.

"London Mining notes recent reports suggesting that an increased number of incidents of Ebola Fever have been found. Following consultation with relevant authorities, the company has imposed restrictions on travel [and] a number of non-essential personnel have left the country," the company said.

The iron ore mining company said production at its mine was not affected.

Officials in the country say there have been two deaths from Ebola and a dozen other cases of the deadly and highly contagious disease, following an outbreak in neighbouring Guinea that also led to cases in Liberia earlier this year.

Taylor sentence to reflect his 'position of authority'

Charles Taylor listens to his sentencing Credit: REUTERS/United Photos

Presiding judge Richard Lussick said that Charles Taylor's sentence of 50 years was supposed to reflect his position of authority.

The prosecution had recommended a sentence of 80 years, but the judge ruled this would be excessive as Taylor had not directly committed the crimes himself.

Judge Lussick said: "Leadership must be carried out by example by the prosecution of crimes not the commission of crimes.

"The sentence is intended to "underscore the gravity it attached to the betrayal of public trust."

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'Innocent lives destroyed' as a result of Taylor's actions

A young man has the initials of the Revolutionary United Front marked in his chest and his ear cut off Credit: Reuters

Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war.

The presiding judge Richard Lussick said: "The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions."

Last month, Taylor was convicted of 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity which included murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers.

Child soldiers from the RUF Credit: Reuters

Although the court could not prove that Taylor directly ordered these crimes, is found that he provided"sustained and significant" support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels which committed many of the atrocities against civilians.

In particular, Taylor was found to have channeled weapons and ammunition to the rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined using slave labor.

Charles Taylor prosecutor recommends prison term of 'no less than 80 years'

Brenda Hollis, the lead prosecutor in the Charles Taylor trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, has recommended a prison sentence of at least 80 years. At an interim hearing she said of the 64-year-old war criminal:

Considering the extreme magnitude and seriousness of the crimes that were committed against the people of Sierra Leone for which Taylor has been found responsible … the prosecution recommends that Charles Taylor be sentenced to a prison term of no less than 80 years. No significant mitigating circumstances exist in this case.

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