This has been the bloodiest year of Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis, leading to the loss of many more lives. Cameroonians are now using #EndAnglophoneCrisis to alert the world to the separatist war.

 

The peaceful protests that started in 2016 in Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions, over institutional marginalisation and underinvestment, mutated into violence and have now turned bloodier with no end in sight.

This year has been the bloodiest of the conflict. On 24 October, unknown attackers wielding guns and machetes stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba, in the troubled Southwest Region, and slaughtered seven schoolchildren under the age of 14. The brazen attack left several other students injured, with blood splattered all over the school’s campus. Cameroon’s government has blamed Anglophone separatists for the attack even though no group has claimed credit for it.

The killing attracted widespread international condemnation, with Pope Francis saying, “I feel great bewilderment at such a cruel and senseless act, which tore the young innocents from life while they were attending lessons in school.”

Cameroon President Paul Biya addressed the attack only two days later, condemning the act while announcing that he has “instructed that appropriate measures be taken diligently to ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are apprehended by our defence and security forces and brought to justice”.

Felix Agbor Nkongho, a human rights lawyer and president of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA), was quoted as saying, “This incident is another episode to add to the countless horrific and gross violations of human rights and international law in our war-affected region.” The CHRDA has been documenting the atrocities committed by government forces as well as separatist fighters who are seeking to create a breakaway state from Cameroon called Ambazonia.