By Tata Mbunwe
Parts of Lebialem Division in the Southwest region have begun embracing education after four years of school boycott.
Community schools have been created in many localities for both primary and secondary school students with local teachers volunteering to teach the pupils and students.
In Wabane, one of the Subdivisions of Lebialem, schools have kicked off in the village of Bechati, where its two secondary schools, two primary and two nursery schools have not opened their doors since November 2016.
Most of the children attending school now are doing so for the first time in four years.
Many families who could afford had already sent their children to neighbouring Dschang, Bamenda, Buea and other towns for education.
Separatists have been very vibrant against school resumption in the area, especially in Wabane and Alou Subdivisions, where several villages are still under the separatists’ control.
A source who spoke to MMI said schools were supposed to resume earlier but one of the separatist commanders, commonly called “General Dieman”, had been making life quite unbearable for many communities in the area.
Recently the said separatist leader was attacked by co-separatist fighters from neighbouring communities, who dislodged his camp, weakening his influence over the communities.
The Cameroon military, last month, also neutralised fierce separatist Commander, “General Ayeke”, reigniting hopes for more peace in the troubled Lebialem Division.
Despite its rich agricultural endowments and its ability to produce almost all crops produced in Cameroon, Lebialem has been almost cut off from the country with very little movement into and out of the division for the past four years of the Anglophone conflict.
In July this year, when the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of the Northwest and Southwest regions was launched in Buea, Lebialem Fon, led by Senator Fon Lekunzi Andreas, expressed optimism towards restoring peace in the division.
But this has been unrealistic yet, with most of the traditional rulers having deserted their palaces following pressure from separatist fighters.