For the past ten days, schools in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon have become unsafe areas targeted by armed men.
A serene atmosphere that is supposed to characterise a school environment has given way to chaos, gunshots, and all sorts of atrocious activities.
In Kumba, Meme Division in the South West region, Mother Francisca International Memorial Academy remains closed after seven students were killed by gunmen with over a dozen wounded. The teaching and administrative staff of the school remain in police custody.
In the North West of Cameroon, eleven teachers of Presbyterian Primary school Kumbo are still in the hands of kidnappers. Taken Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 at the school campus, the boys suspected to be separatist fighters are keeping the teachers on the accusation of violating their instructions of school boycott. Since the kidnapped of the teachers, the school and others in Kumbo have a shutdown.
In Fundong, Boyo division in the North West, parents and the military searched for and recovered seven students earlier kidnapped by gunmen while on their way to government bilingual high school Foundong on Wednesday, November 4th.
In a similar scenario, students and teachers of Kulu Memorial College Mile 4 Limbe have been tortured. Students say gunmen invaded their class at around 9:00 am Wednesday, November 4th undressed, and tortured them before setting ablaze some classes and offices.
Besides these physical attacks on schools and students, those attacking schools have equally resorted to circulating false information of attacks on schools to urge parents to withdraw their children from school.
In the face of all these, the government of Cameroon has resorted to verbal condemnations and the deployment of military men in schools attacked.
On the programme “Scene de Presse” on CRTV Sunday, November 1st 2020, the minister of territorial stated that the government is ready to continue with its military might to win the war.
Paul Atanga Nji said, “Cameroon cannot call for a ceasefire. Perpetrators will be brought to book”.
On the other hand, boys fighting for the restoration of Ambazonia statehood are determined to stop at nothing until total independence.
It is with this context that schools, students, and other civilians in the North West and South West regions find themselves with insecurity as the order of the day.
According to Dr. Busi Ernest Neba, an applied Positive psychologist, the psychological impact of these atrocious practices on students are enormous. “There is fear to attend school now in the regions. In their minds, they now have conflicting thoughts of either to attend school and stand risks of attacks or stay at home and be safe. The attacks in schools have given rise to post-traumatic stress that can lead to depression.”
To the university don, at a point like this, the effort of everyone in the country counts to bring hope in the minds of the students to see school as a place to learn and not a battleground.
“Students and pupils need psychological therapy. People to talk to them and build hope in their minds. This can only bear positive fruits if the government takes concrete measures for peace” he said.
To Dr. Busi Ernest Neba, all other measures taken to let children see school as a positive thing without a solution that will bring about peace will be incomplete.
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