The North West and South West Regions of Cameroon remain the centre of unprecedented attacks and chaos – this Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 was no exception.
From Fako to Meme and finally, to Mezam Divisions, the dire security situation disrupted several activities including education. After at least eight children were killed and a dozen wounded on October 24, 2020, at a private college in Kumba, reports this Tuesday of another eminent attack plunged schools into mayhem.
Panic in Fako
Shortly after 8:00 am this morning, parents and guardians in Buea, Limbe, Ombe, Mutengene and Tiko began rushing to schools to withdraw their children. Without detailed knowledge of what prompted the sudden move, streets were flooded with motorcycles, private cars and taxis to transport the children to safety.
In some schools in Limbe, headquarters of Fako division, it was a tussle between some school administrators and parents who wanted their kids at all cost despite security assurance from the school.
“At government technical High school Sokolo in Limbe, students scrambled in a total panic to come out of the gate. Others even sustained injuries” a parent in Limbe told Mimi Mefo Info.
At Horizon primary school in Limbe, parents stood at the gate forcing the school to let go of the kids.
“Right now, there is no school in Limbe. We pray that all these come to an end for people to study in peace” he added.
To the students, “we are running because we learned that they are killing school children in Ombe”.
However, the principal of Government Technical High School Ombe has debunked allegations that her school came under attack. In a message circulating on social media, the school principal says studies have been going hitch-free at GTHS Ombe.
Other parents decided to quickly withdraw their children from school after receiving threatening messages from unknown individuals that some schools were to be attacked in Fako Division in the South West region.
As panic, fear of the unknown and confusion reigned in schools in Fako Division, Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration is busy visiting victims of Fiango historic massacre of students in Kumba; Meme division in the South West region.
The delegation headed by Paul Atanga Nji drove from Buea passing through towns and villages noted for frequent separatist attacks, unperturbed.
False alarm of attack in schools in Fako division same day when an inter-ministerial delegation is visiting Kumba has left many people pondering whether it is a mere coincidence or an administrative ploy to divert public attention from the fact that the government is visiting aggrieved families four days after unknown individuals shot form one students of Mother Francisca International Memorial College killing at least seven of them.
A source in one of the hospitals treating students wounded in the course of the shooting says the government has not made available any money to ensure the treatment of victims.
“…Doctors without Borders is solely responsible for the treatment so far. They equally provide food to the victims and those taking care of them”, the source claimed.
The senior divisional officer of Meme division Chamberlin Ntou’o Ndong told reporters last Sunday that at the end of the treatment, the government is going to pay all the bills.
Bamenda: Women denounce violence
Meanwhile, thousands of women accompanied by some men and children have cried out to authorities in Bamenda; North West region begging for concrete solutions to end Anglophone crisis. This is despite the government’s systematic ban of all forms of public protests in the Anglophone regions over the course of the past few years.
“As women, we give birth to all those who are killed and are subjected to all types of suffering due to the Anglophone crisis. We are tired of shedding tears”. One of the protesting women lamented.
With placards carrying inscriptions like “We want peace in the North West and South West regions” “Stop the killings”, “Let children go to school in peace” “No to the killing of children in Kumba” amongst others, the peace-plants-carrying protesters marched through the streets of Bamenda with a stopover in some administrative offices. At the office of the divisional officer of Bamenda 2, Nicolas Nkongho Mancha, challenged the women and other protesters to play a leading role in stopping the violence by denouncing separatists that live in their quarters.
To the DO, security is a collective movement that each and every one should contribute.
Marching across Bamenda 1, 2 and 3, the protesters moved on to the governor’s office at Up station in Bamenda. Adoph Lele L’Afrique addressing the protesters rather downplayed the Kumba incident by saying “…the killing in Kumba is not the first but we should all work together so that it should be the last. Stop hiding and assisting fighters”. This tone of blaming the victims of the conflict for the pains they are forced to endure appears to have become the norm.
For instance, the Operation “Keep Bamenda Clean” imposed by the military over a month ago claimed to be aimed at an effective crackdown on separatist fighters. However, most inhabitants of Bamenda have frowned at the brutality of the security forces against innocent civilians.