Armed ViolenceNews

Gunshots As Schools Reopen In Cameroon’s Anglophone Region 

Despite threats by English-speaking region separatists, schools reopened in Cameroon today amid violent attacks on teachers and students.

Students at a private school in Cameroon. Photo:BHeT

As a new academic session begins in Cameroon, many schoolchildren and teachers in English-speaking regions of the country are faced with uncertainty.

The regions have faced threats from separatists who have kept children out of class for the past six years through violent attacks. 

On Saturday, Sept. 2, two primary school headteachers in the North-West region, Eric Diense Foinjang and John Ndim Budji, were murdered by separatist fighters. 

They were killed on their way from a meeting geared towards the resumption of the new academic year.  

While schools resumed on Monday, Sept. 4, learning remains at risk and parents are afraid to send their children back to class.

Ajeck Hilda, a fourth-year secondary school student in Kumba, a town in the South-West region, was shot on Monday morning when separatist fighters attacked a police station in her neighbourhood. 

The bullet passed through her perforated home into her stomach, leading to her death. 

Hilda’s mother, a widow who lost her husband under the same circumstances years ago in another village, was inconsolable when the incident occurred.

The Senior  Divisional Officer of Meme, Chamberlain Ndong, visited the mortuary where Hilda’s corpse was taken.

He appealed to locals to report to competent authorities when they saw separatist fighters loitering around the quarters.

“Tomorrow, it can happen to any other person. If you are not communicating enough, you will continue to witness such situations. When you see people passing, tell the authorities to avoid such situations, useless situations, useless deaths,” he warned.

Separatists have been using social media to spread the school boycott message in the past few days. 

Travel agencies in Bamenda, North-West, were also overcrowded during the weekend, as many moved to French-speaking towns for safety. 

“Spending two weeks at home without going to my shop is really boring. I prefer to take my children and we come to Douala and rest from the gunshots,” said Helen Anye, a mother of three. 

According to a report published in June by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Cameroon, over 2,245 schools are shut down due to threats and attacks by separatist fighters. 

It also showed that 12 children in the North-West were abducted after writing their end-of-year examinations.

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