from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – THE kidnapping of teachers and nine children as well as their torture and damaging of schools this week highlights the escalating crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
On Wednesday, unidentified armed men kidnapped 11 teachers and school personnel from the Presbyterian primary and secondary schools in Kumbo, in the North-West.
The following day, militants attacked the Kulu Memorial College in Limbe, South West region and tortured teachers and children and damaged school facilities.
Also on the same day, nine children were kidnapped on their way to school and released after intimidation in Fundong in the North West region.
On 23 October, the day before the killing of eight children from Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba, in the South-West region, 15 children from Progressive Comprehensive college of Bamenda in the North-West region were abducted on their way back from school.
Six of them were released the following day, several of whom had been subjected to torture by the kidnappers and had to be hospitalised.
Matthias Naab, the humanitarian coordinator in Cameroon, decried the repeated attacks on children, teachers and educational facilities in the regions.
“These acts are abhorrent and unacceptable,” he said.
The envoy said education was a fundamental right and children should not be prevented from going to school.
“It should be a place of safety and learning, not one where children are in fear,” Naab said.
Militants in affected regions are agitating for self-rule from Cameroon.
They claim the government of President Paul Biya, dominated by French speakers, marginalises them.
Attacks on children, teachers and schools are seen as a terror tactic to force government to accede to their demands.
– CAJ News