Yaoundé, Cameroon (CNN)Gunmen stormed a faculty in Cameroon and opened fireplace over the weekend, killing a number of kids and wounding extra.
The assault occurred on Saturday in Kumba, a city within the nation’s restive Anglophone area, the place separatist insurgents operate.
No less than seven kids have died and 12 had been injured within the incident, based on Reuters.
Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute stated that 9 college students had died and condemned a “dastardly act of wickedness.”
“I bow earlier than the reminiscence of those harmless youngsters,” he tweeted Sunday. “I urge all Cameroonians to firmly stand in opposition to these acts of atrocity. The Republic is not going to bow to terror.”
In line with Ntou Ndong Chamberlain, an area administrator within the district the place the incident occurred, armed males stormed the Mom Francisca Worldwide Bilingual Academy, a personal faculty the place college students had been attending courses, opening fireplace on them earlier than escaping.
“We had been finding out French after we heard three gunshots from outdoors and the trainer needed to escape so we needed to bow our heads on the bottom and began praying,” a scholar who was on the scene of the incident stated. “They began capturing randomly across the faculty campus earlier than they left. Once they had gone, we acquired as much as uncover useless our bodies and a few injured mendacity on the bottom.”
Native authorities worry the loss of life toll may improve as a lot of the injured kids are in a vital situation.
Boniface Tamungwa, a pastor in Kumba who arrived the scene of the incident, stated his 11-year outdated was among the many kids killed.
“I used to be in the home with my sick spouse when a [student] got here and began shouting telling me they’d shot and killed my son. I went to the college and noticed my son useless, he was among the many three kids who died on the spot,” Tamungwa stated.
Ongoing separatist violence
No group has claimed accountability although native authorities have accused separatist fighters of focusing on the college. Folks have been elevating consciousness of the incident on social media underneath the hashtag #EndAnglophoneCrisis.
That is in reference to ongoing actions which advocate a separation between English-speaking Cameroon from the French-speaking a part of the nation. Separatists in Anglophone areas have been preventing with authorities forces and government-backed militias for a number of years.
Each side stand accused of violence in opposition to civilians, which started in 2016 after residents within the nation’s Anglophone provinces, the place 20% of Cameroon’s inhabitants reside, protested the federal government led by French audio system.
The Anglophone battle has internally displaced greater than 670,000 individuals in affected areas, whereas 60,000 Cameroonians have fled escalating violence to neighboring Nigeria, based on the United Nations’ estimates in February.
In that very same month, at the very least 14 children were among 22 people killed by armed males in Ntumbo, a village in northwestern Cameroon, a UN official stated.
“Let me use this chance to sentence not solely what has occurred however to inform (the separatist fighters) that we’re going to do our greatest to close them down. Allow them to run, however we’re behind them,” Chamberlain, the native administrator, stated within the wake of this weekend’s assault.
The assault on the college comes simply two weeks into the beginning of the brand new tutorial 12 months.
A 2019 report by the United Nations Youngsters’s Fund, UNICEF, revealed an estimated 855,000 kids have been out of college in Cameroon’s northwest and southwest areas, the place authorities forces have been battling with separatist fighters for near 4 years.
UN Secretary-Normal António Guterres stated it was one other “disturbing reminder of the [conflict’s] heavy toll on civilians, together with kids, a lot of whom have been disadvantaged of their proper to schooling.”
A Sunday assertion from Guterres’s spokesperson referred to as for Cameroonian authorities to conduct an investigation to make sure that these accountable are held accountable.
In one other assertion, UNICEF Government Director Henrietta Fore condemned the assault “within the strongest doable phrases.”
“I’m shocked and outraged at these abominable assaults,” Fore stated, including that faculties have to be locations of security and studying, “not loss of life traps.”
The US embassy in Cameroon condemned the killings and supplied condolences to the households affected.
Francis Ajumane reported from Yaoundé. CNN’s Anita Patrick contributed to this report.