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Eight people from a delegation of Guinean government officials and journalists were killed in a reported attack by villagers fearful of the Ebola outbreak.

The delegation was visiting the village of Womme in southeast Guinea to educate people about the disease, but according to multiple reports from the region, they were instead attacked by a mob that hurled stones at them and beat them with clubs.

"The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit," Damantang Albert Camara, a government spokesman, told Reuters by phone.

Guinea's prime minister, Mohamed Saïd Fofana, said on television that seven bodies out of nine missing people were found, Reuters reported.

Camara told Agence France-Presse that the health workers and journalists were apparently killed "in cold blood." Six arrests were made in the aftermath.

The shocking incident is an indication of the fear and mistrust that officials battling the epidemic are facing among the local population. The Los Angeles Times quoted one local police officer as saying the villagers believed Ebola “is nothing more than an invention of white people to kill black people.”

Doctors Without Borders has also said they can't work in as many as 10 villages because of hostility from the local population.

The World Health Organization now says that more than 5,500 people in west Africa have been infected with Ebola and more than 2,500 have died. Earlier this week, the White House pledged money and troops to help contain the epidemic.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.