Police were guarding an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone on Saturday, the day after thousands marched on the clinic following allegations by a former nurse the deadly virus was invented to conceal "cannibalistic rituals" there, a regional police chief said.
Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at least 660 people have died from the illness, according to the World Health Organisation, placing great strain on the health systems of some of Africa's poorest countries.
The virus is still spreading. A Liberian man who died in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, tested positive for the virus on Friday, Nigeria's health minister said.
Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases, at 454, surpassing neighboring Guinea where the outbreak originated in February.
Angry crowds gathered on Friday outside the country's main Ebola hospital in Kenema in the West African country's remote east where dozens are receiving treatment for the virus, and threatened to burn it down and remove the patients.
Residents said police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds and that a 9-year-old boy was shot in the leg by a police bullet.
Assistant Inspector General Alfred Karrow-Kamara said on Saturday the protest was sparked by a former nurse who had told a crowd at a nearby fish market that "Ebola was unreal and a gimmick aimed at carrying out cannibalistic rituals".
He said calm had been restored to Kenema on Saturday, adding that a strong armed police presence was in place around the clinic and the local police station.
Some health workers from the clinic have been reported absent from work because of "misconceptions by some members of the community," according to a local doctor.
Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it, although the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent. Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, its symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea as well as internal and external bleeding.
President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Saturday the government planned to "intensify activities and interventions in containing the disease and stopping it spread" with a view to ending the disease within 60 to 90 days.
The new strategy will focus on contact tracing, surveillance, communications and social mobilization, social services, logistics and supplies, according to the president's statement.
The WHO said previously that poor health infrastructure and a lack of manpower were hindering efforts to contain the outbreak in Sierra Leone. Another problem is fear and mistrust of health workers among the local population, many of whom have more faith in traditional medicine.
Sierra Leone officials appealed for help on Friday to trace the first known resident in the capital with Ebola whose family forcibly removed her from a Freetown hospital after she tested positive for the deadly disease. [ID:L6N0Q03FK]
Amadu Sisi, senior doctor at King Harman hospital, from which the patient was removed, said on Saturday she had been turned in after seeking refuge in the house of a traditional healer. She died in the ambulance on the way to another hospital, he added later.
Health workers are now setting up a new Ebola treatment center in Lakka village, about 20 km (12 miles) south of Freetown, to prepare for future cases near the capital.
At least 30 people were killed in Egypt Friday and Saturday in fighting between soldiers and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, witnesses said.
The New York Times reported at least 30 people had been killed across the country by early Saturday, though it was not possible to accurately assess the full extent of casualties.
Military helicopters were in the sky over Cairo as pro- and anti-Morsi forces fought near Tahrir Square -- street fighting that persisted for hours before soldiers in armored personnel carriers broke it up, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Gunfire erupted outside the officers' club of the Presidential Guard where Morsi is believed to be detained, the BBC reported. Troops initially fired rounds into the air but then fired at the crowd, the BBC said.
The Muslim Brotherhood called for the protest against the ouster of Morsi, Ahram Online reported.
Pro-Morsi marches took place in Alexandria, Beheira and Minyain, among other cities.
The African Union suspended Egypt's membership Friday, saying in a post on its Twitter page it was reacting to "the overthrow of the democratically elected Egyptian president," Voice of America reported.
The AU Peace and Security Council said during a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it would it send a delegation to Egypt "to work toward restoring constitutional order."
Navi Pillay, the United Nations' high commissioner for human rights, urged all parties in Egypt to commit to respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi gather around a man who was shot during a gun battle outside the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guard on July 5, 2013. Shooting could be heard coming from both the Republican Guard and the ranks of the protesters. UPI/Ahmed
She said the large protests that preceded Morsi's overthrow show the desire for fundamental rights.
"I hope that the rule of law and a system of government that respects the human rights of all Egyptians -- men and women -- can be quickly re-established," she said in a statement Friday. "The country has so far failed to seize the opportunity to respond to the aspirations of all its citizens and move toward a truly tolerant and inclusive society, based on human rights norms and the rule of law. A concerted effort is needed by all parties to establish sound political and legal institutions."
Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Mustafa el-Demeiry told Ahram Online Friday the group's leader, Mohamed Badie, learned a warrant was issued for his arrest and would surrender but wasn't sure to which authority.
Egypt's army said it would permit peaceful protests and Muslim Brotherhood supporters prepared to rally for the ousted Morsi.
"Peaceful protest and freedom of expression are rights guaranteed to everyone, which Egyptians have earned as one of the most important gains of their glorious revolution," the army said.
Demeiry told Ahram Online Saad el-Katatni, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, and Mahdi Akef, the group's former leader, were being held in Tora Prison with Abdel Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, a brotherhood lawyer arrested Friday after going to the prison to defend the two leaders.
Interim President Adly Mansour, the chief judge of Egypt's constitutional court, pledged to hold elections based on "the genuine people's will," the BBC reported.
Gehad al-Haddad, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a member, said the organization would not work with the new regime.
"We are being headhunted all over the country," Haddad said. "We are holding a mass rally after Friday prayers to take all peaceful steps necessary to bring down this coup."
State prosecutors said Morsi, who was in military custody, would face an investigation starting next week into claims he had "insulted the presidency," the British newspaper The Guardian reported.
Morsi was ousted Wednesday after days of protests across the country that left at least 50 people dead. Demonstrators accused Morsi and the brotherhood of pursuing an Islamic agenda and not tackling the country's economic woes.
The army said it had to step in after Morsi "failed to meet the demands of the people."
Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader who backed Morsi's removal, said the army's intervention was "a painful measure" but ultimately averted civil war.
"Mr. Morsi, unfortunately, undermined his own legitimacy," he told the BBC.
Mohamed Soudan, foreign relations secretary for the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party, said the military's actions pushed Egypt "back to the dictatorship regime."
Islamic fringe groups threatened payback for Morsi's overthrow, CNN reported.
Police arrested four men Friday who allegedly planned a revenge attack, and confiscated arms and explosives, al-Ahram reported.
A human rights watchdog called for an official inquiry into deaths resulting from politically motivated violence in recent weeks.
"The available information indicates that both supporters and opponents of Morsi -- and possibly security forces as well -- were responsible for needless loss of life," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch.
RUSTENBURG, South Africa — The world's biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, sacked 12,000 striking workers in South Africa Friday, just hours after one miner was killed in clashes with police. Meanwhile a union leader in nearby Marikana was shot dead in the evening, his union said.
"A branch secretary of the union at Western Platinum was shot and killed at his house in Marikana this (Friday) evening," said National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka in a statement.
Anglo American Platinum said the miners failed to appear before disciplinary hearings "and have therefore been dismissed in their absence".
It is the latest crisis to hit South Africa's vital minerals sector, which has been crippled by a wave of violent disputes over miners' pay since August.
Around 28,000 Amplats workers have been on strike for three weeks at the firm's sprawling facilities in the northern town of Rustenburg, which account for around a quarter of world platinum production.
The company said the strike had so far cost 700 million rand ($80 million, 60 million euro) in lost revenue. In a bid to halt further losses, Amplats on Monday warned wildcat strikers that they would be sacked if they failed to attend hearings. It has now made good on that promise.
"Despite the company's repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20 percent," Amplats said in a statement. Workers, some of whom received SMS messages from Amplats informing them of the news, reacted with a mixture of shock and defiance. "If they fired us, no problem," said Claudio, aged 37, from Mozambique. "We are going to market ourselves somewhere else."
Others were more circumspect. "Now what is going to happen?" asked a worried 21-year-old miner from the eastern province of Mpumalanga, who had not gone to work because of the threat of violence from colleagues.
But with many miners unwilling to give up their demands for higher pay and Amplats taking a tough line, the spectre of violence loomed.
In August, 46 people died during a strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in nearby Marikana. "Things now are tuning to a point," said Gaddhafi Mdoda a worker and activist, "they are leaving us with no choice."
At least six people have been killed around Rustenburg in strike-related violence this week. Late Thursday one miner was killed when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a group of 300 illegal strikers protesting on a hilltop close to the mines.
The independent police watchdog is investigating the man's death "as the incident appeared to have arisen from police action", according to police spokeswoman Emelda Setlhako. "The crowd began stoning the police who then had to use stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them," spokesman Setlhako said in a statement. The victim has not been officially identified, but colleagues told AFP the man, in his late 40s, was from the rural Eastern Cape province and had been a rock drill operator at the Bleskop shaft.
On Friday police cordoned off the hill with red tape as investigators examined the scene, while strikers barricaded roads close by with tyres and rocks. "The situation is tense," said local police spokesman Thulani Ngubane. With around 100,000 workers currently on strike across the country, President Jacob Zuma -- who has publically kept his distance from the crisis -- on Thursday called for the work stoppages to end.
Speaking to business leaders in Johannesburg, he warned the strikes would hurt South Africa's ability to attract more investment and growth.
"We should not seek to portray ourselves as a nation that is perpetually fighting."
Investors, already spooked by earlier violence, warned Friday's dismissals could deepen a crisis that has already paralysed an industry that accounts for around 20 of South Africa's GDP.
"The government is doing nothing," said Peter Attard Montalto, a strategist with Japanese bank Nomura, who warned the strikes had already shaved 0.2 to 0.3 percent off third quarter growth.
The South African rand sank against the dollar on news of renewed violence.
Analysts have warned that the strikers' demands will result in job losses in the country where one in every four employable people is already out of work.
Amplats will hope Friday's high-stakes gambit gives them the leverage needed to end the unrest.
In February, Amplats' rival Impala Platinum fired 17,000 workers, only to rehire them a few weeks later as part of a wage agreement.
Amplats on Friday indicated it was open to "exploring the possibility of bringing forward wage negotiations within our current agreements".
American killed in Libya protest over anti-Islam film. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, a center of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, late on Tuesday evening, killing one U.S. consular official. The building was evacuated.
The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.
"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.
There was no immediate comment from the State Department in Washington. U.S. ambassadors in such volatile countries are accompanied by tight security, usually travelling in well-protected convoys. Security officials will be considering whether the two attacks were coordinated.
Libyan deputy prime minister Mustafa Abu Shagour condemned the killing of the U.S. diplomats as a cowardly act.
A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)
Diplomatic car charred inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi
The consular official had died after clashes between Libyan security forces and Islamist militants around the consulate building. Looters raided the empty compound and some onlookers took pictures after calm returned.
In neighboring Egypt, demonstrators had torn down an American flag and burned it during the protest. Some tried to raise a black flag with the words "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger", a Reuters
Demonstrators rip down US flag in Cairo, Egypt. The demonstrations were in response to a film that some say denigrates the Islamic religion
PORTRAYAL OF PROPHET
U.S. pastor Terry Jones, who had inflamed anger in the Muslim world in 2010 with plans to burn the Koran, said he had promoted "Innocence of Muslims", which U.S. media said was produced by an Israeli-American property developer; but clips of another film called "Mohammad, Prophet of Muslims", had been circulating for weeks before the protest.
That film portrayed Mohammad as a fool, a philanderer and a religious fake. In one clip posted on YouTube Mohammad was shown in a sexual act with a woman.
Jones, a pastor in Florida whose latest stunt fell on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, triggered riots in Afghanistan in 2010 with his threat to burn the Koran.
Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet offensive and any depiction of him can cause outbursts of anger in the Islamic world and among Muslims in Europe.
Libya's interim government has struggled to impose its authority on a myriad of armed groups that have refused to lay down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands.
It was clearly overwhelmed by Tuesday night's attack on the consulate that preceded the assault on the ambassador.
"The Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and we were not prepared for the intensity of the attack," said Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee.
In Benghazi, unidentified men had shot at the consulate buildings, while others threw handmade bombs into the compound, setting off small explosions.
On Wednesday morning, the compound stood empty, with passers-by freely walking in to take a look at the damage.
Walls were charred and a small fire burned inside one of the buildings. A small group of men was trying to extinguish the flames and three security men briefly surveyed the scene.
A Reuters reporter saw chairs, table and food lying alongside empty shells. Some blood stains could also be seen in front of one of the buildings. Three cars were torched.
The crowd of around 2,000 protesters in Cairo was a mixture of Islamists and teenage soccer fans known for fighting police and who played a part in the revolt that toppled Egypt's leader Hosni Mubarak last year.
The fortress-like U.S. mission is near Tahrir Square, where Egypt's uprising began and the scene of many protests since. Youths danced and chanted football songs. A Reuters reporter said they appeared to climb into the embassy compound almost as an afterthought.
"We sacrificed dozens and hundreds during the uprising for our dignity. The Prophet's dignity is more important to us and we are ready to sacrifice millions," said mosque preacher Mohamed Abu Gabal who joined the protest.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement late on Tuesday, confirmed the death of the U.S. consular diplomat in Libya, who was not identified, and condemned the attack there; but she made no mention of an attack on the Ambassador's car.