After the release of a video featuring Mr. Tem Gerald Akebai, the principal of Government High School (GHS) Benakuma, in the Menchum Valley subdivision of the NW Region of Cameroon, Mimi Mefo Info (MMI) shared the footage on our Facebook page with the aim of raising awareness and securing the principal’s release. Among the many comments received was one from Prince J. Carr.
According to Carr, there must be a valid reason for the principal’s ‘arrest.’ He stated, “Our restoration forces are well educated; if he is arrested, there must be a reason for his arrest. For seven years in this war, our restoration forces have not killed a single La Republic civilian in our territory. Do not make a fool of them.”
MMI, recognizing the inaccuracies in Carr’s comment, given that MMI has reported some of the killings by Ambazonian separatists, chose to respond and redirect the discussion to the kidnapped principal. The response to Prince J. Carr read, “And yet they force him to make a video asking for more money? The money his family gave them made them more angry because it is small, and they are asking for more. What are you trying to justify? The simple message in this video is that they are asking him to tell everyone he knows to bring more money. Is that what your fighters are educated to do?”
Prince J. Carr replied, “Because he went against the order of the restoration forces, all La Republic government schools have been banned in Southern Cameroons. Only community schools operate because he refused to obey the restoration forces. He has to pay the taxes for disobedience. Our restoration forces have sacrificed their blood and soul to free Southern Cameroons from Dictator Biya. Anyone that disobeys them will face the consequence with a price.”
Several points arise from Carr’s response:
- Prince J. Carr was evidently aware of the reason for the principal’s kidnapping, asserting that the motivation was solely to collect ransom.
- Carr confirms his support for the intimidation of teachers and the collection of ransom, thereby preventing Anglophone children from attending school.
- He claims the collection of ‘taxes for disobedience,’ without specifying the amount or clarifying which authority is responsible for such a tax.
It’s important to note that in the video where the principal pleads for his life, no specific amount is mentioned. He confirms that his family has given an undisclosed sum to his captors, who deemed it insufficient and became further agitated.
This incident reflects a broader and deeply troubling trend of kidnapping for ransom in the Anglophone regions, a practice that undermines the safety and security of individuals within affected communities. The targeted attacks on educators, as illustrated by the kidnapping of Principal Tem Gerald Akebai, not only perpetuate a cycle of violence but also pose a significant threat to the education system.
The intimidation of teachers and the closure of government schools in the North West and South West Regions impede the educational progress of Anglophone children, depriving them of essential learning opportunities. As these challenges persist, the future of an entire generation is jeopardised, emphasising the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the restoration of a stable educational environment for the children of the region.