MONROVIA — Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sacked 10 senior officials because they failed to heed a warning to return from overseas travel to help the government's fight against an Ebola epidemic that has killed at least 1,100 Liberians. The officials, who include six assistant ministers, two deputy ministers and two commissioners, were dismissed with immediate effect for being "out of the country without an excuse," according to a statement from the president's office. They were initially told in August to return to Liberia.
"These government officials showed insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority," said the statement released late on Saturday. It did not make clear what role the government expected the officials to play in the response to the crisis, or why they were out of the country.
The contagious, hemorrhagic fever was first discovered in eastern Guinea in March and has killed more than 2,400 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, making it the worst Ebola outbreak the world has seen. Sirleaf on Saturday appealed to U.S. President Barack Obama for urgent aid in tackling Ebola.
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