Paul Biya, Cameroon’s 87-year-old President has taken to Twitter Monday evening to condemn Saturday’s Kumba school attack.
“I learned with great sadness of the horrific murder of several students of the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in the town of Kumba,” tweeted Biya who has been in power for 38 years.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric and cowardly crime against innocent children,” he added.
Biya went on to echo portions of a statement that was put out Saturday night by Communication Minister and Government Spokesman, Rene Emmanuel Sadi.
“I have also instructed that appropriate measures be taken diligently to ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are apprehended by our Defence and Security Forces and brought to justice,” Biya said.
“I address my full solidarity and sincere condolences to the bereaved families as well as the educational community. I join my wishes and the deepest empathy of my Wife for the prompt recovery of the injured.”
On Saturday night, Sadi gave the impression that if not for Biya’s instructions, the victims would not have been taken to hospital.
“On the instructions of President Paul Biya, the injured students were rushed to the appropriate health facilities in Kumba, Buea and Mutengene. In the same vein, the local administrative authorities, who are fully mobilized, have ensured the transfer of the mortal remains of the deceased to the mortuary of the Kumba District Hospital,” the Communication Minister said.
“In addition, in terms of security, special units of the Cameroonian Armed Force have undertaken to secure the town of Kumba,” Sadi said at a press conference on Saturday.
He read out the following lines which have now been echoed by Biya. Sadi said: “Allow me on behalf of the Government to present to the deeply bereaved families the sincere condolences of the HEAD OF STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL BIYA, as well as the deep sympathy of the entire Nation.
“In a nutshell, with regard to this tragic situation, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, has, on the Very High Instructions of THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, decided this day, to urgently dispatch an interministerial delegation to Kumba to present the comfort, solidarity and support of the entire Cameroonian people to the bereaved families.
“In addition, the Minister Delegate at the Presidency of the Republic, in charge of Defence, has been instructed, in collaboration with the other relevant services, to initiate an investigation in order to determine the exact circumstances of this attack, and to actively search for the culprits, for them to be brought to book before competent court.”
Sadi earlier on said six students were shot dead and 13 others injured when “armed separatist terrorists” attacked Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Fiango, Kumba around 11:00am on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
“A group of over ten terrorists, armed with war weapons, and dressed-up in real commando style, aboard three motorcycles, stormed the premises of the ‘Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy’ and unfeelingly opened fire on the students that were in classrooms,” said Sadi.
He furthered that: “The first assessment report of this terrorist attack reveals as follows: – Six (06) students shot dead, notably, five girls and one (01) boy; Thirteen (13) injured, notably, ten (10) girls and three (03) boys, with seven in a very critical condition.”
Sadi denied claims that the act was carried out by Cameroon’s military.
“In addition, the Government strongly refutes these false allegations as well as the subterfuge and other manoeuvres of the said armed bands, who are unscrupulously tending to push the blame of all sort of atrocities against the populations of the North-West and South-West Regions, like the horrific attack of today, on the Cameroonian Armed Forces, through endless campaigns of false propaganda through social media.
“As it is, there is no doubt that the terrorist attack committed in Kumba this day, reflects the disarray and rout of these separatist armed bands, as to the resolve of the educational community, notably, the parents, teachers and students, to defy their threats and slogans, in deciding to resume classes in their respective localities, in accordance with the recommendations and prescriptions of the Government of the Republic.
“That is to say, in other words, that the objective of these separatists is to break the fresh impetus observed in the resumption of classes as part of the start of the 2020/2021 school year in the North-West and South-West Regions, and to thereby dissuade parents from sending their children to school.
“The Government intends on its part, to reaffirm its resolve to carry out all necessary measures to address all the intimidation threats by creating and preserving the conditions that would allow for the pursuit of the back-to school campaign and the security of the educational community of the concerned regions as a whole.