Schools in Cameroon have opened their doors to students and pupils; old and new across the nation, with government officials championing a back to school campaign in the restive English speaking regions of Cameroon.
In the French Speaking regions of Cameroon, the streets were colourful this morning, as school children beautified the streets with their school wears, among them, the displaced from the restive regions. However, this was not the case with the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, where children who did not relocate due to the insecurity in the regions remained home.
On the first day of the 2018-2019 academic year, gunshots prevented students, pupils and teachers from going to school in Anglophone Cameroon.
Reports from these regions say suspected separatists sent a message of fear to students and pupils, in order to prevent them from attending classes.
Before 7 a.m., gunshots could be heard in some parts of Bamenda, capital of the North-West Region.
Gina Informs’ correspondent in the Northwest Region says in most areas students and pupils stayed at home. As a result, the turnout was very poor, with a handful of pupils and students on campus. Ecoles les champions of Up-station Bamenda, had about a 100 children on campus, the highest attendance registered from the schools Gina Informs visited in the city.
In Nkambe, a city in the Northwest, a good number of pupils, students and teachers answered present in their respective schools. The city isn’t greatly affected by the ongoing conflict as the others.
Fresh unrest and violence have rocked the Anglophone restive regions of Cameroon following a military court’s decision to sentence Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, the leader of the “Ambazonia Governing Council,” and nine of his followers to life imprisonment on charges of terrorism and secession.
Since 20 August armed separatists have responded by attacking villages and towns especially in the North West Region, vowing that schools will not resume.
According to UNICEF, between the end of 2017 and June 2019, 4,437 schools closed in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon resulting in more than 609,000 children being denied an education.
Statistics from the Ministry of Basic Education of Cameroon reveal that more than 4,482 nursery and primary schools in the English speaking regions have either been closed, transformed as training grounds for separatist fighters or completely destroyed. More than 6,000 teachers and 201, 000 school children are today directly affected by the separatist war.
There has been a mass exodus from the North West and South West regions of Cameroon following an announced “lockdown” operation by separatist fighters in that part of the country.