Kumba school massacre

The Kumba school massacre took place at Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy during the Anglophone Crisis, in Kumba, Cameroon, in October 2020.[7]

Kumba school massacre
Part of the Anglophone Crisis
LocationMother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, Kumba, Meme Division, Southwest Region, Cameroon
Date24 October 2020[1]
TargetStudents and staff
Attack type
School shooting
WeaponsGuns, machetes[2]
Deaths8[3] (one of whom died from his wounds two years later)[4]
Injured13[3]
Perpetrators10[5]–12[6] unidentified attackers
MotiveUnclear

MassacreEdit

Around noon on 24 October 2020, men in civilian clothing arrived on motorcycles and stormed the school. With machetes and guns, they killed seven children and injured another 13.[3] Some children were also injured when they jumped from windows to escape.[2] According to an official, the dead children were all between 12 and 14 years old.[1]

According to one of the survivors, there had been twelve attackers, most of whom were dressed in military or police uniforms. A local claimed that the school had been making regular payments to the separatists in the area in return for safety; the school would not confirm this.[6]

PerpetratorsEdit

No one claimed responsibility for the attack.[2] Local authorities blamed Ambazonian separatists,[8] while the Cameroonian government and separatist movements accused each other. The Cameroonian government said that around 10 separatist fighters had carried out the massacre.[5] The Ambazonia Governing Council quickly claimed to possess evidence that the Cameroonian Army was responsible, while the Interim Government of Ambazonia drew parallels to the Ngarbuh massacre.[9] Cameroonian Communication Minister Rene Sadi strongly denied that the Cameroonian Army had been involved.[6]

Separatists have a history of attacking schools, which some of them regarded as legitimate targets because the French language is taught as a mandatory subject.[10] While students have been abducted and mistreated numerous times throughout the Anglophone Crisis, and several teachers have been killed, the attack on Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy was the first school massacre to take place during the war.

Reactions and aftermathEdit

 
Protest in Kumba against school attacks

The attack was condemned by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore. Matthias Z. Naab, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, stated that he was "shocked and outraged by the killing of innocent school children which were attending school to get an education". The World Health Organization offered medical supplies to hospitals in the area.[11][12]

On October 28, Cameroon's president Paul Biya declared that October 31 would be a day of national mourning, with flags flown at half-mast all day.[13]

On October 29, Cameroon claimed that the army had identified and killed the separatist commander who was responsible for the massacre, a man known as "Wonke".[14] A month later, a suspected gunman known as "Commander Zabra" was arrested by the police.[15]

After several months in court, four people were sentenced to death by the Buea Military Tribunal for their roles in the massacre on September 7, 2021.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b At Least 6 Children Killed in Attack on School in Cameroon, The New York Times, Oct 24, 2020. Accessed Oct 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Attackers storm Cameroon school, kill several children, Al Jazeera, Oct 24, 2020. Accessed Oct 24, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Cameroon/Kumba massacre: Owners of Mother Francisca primary school still under police custody, Journal du Cameroun, Oct 30, 2020. Accessed Oct 30, 2020.
  4. ^ Victim of Mother Francisca Kumba school shooting dies two years after, Cameroon News Agency, 28 October, 2022. Accessed 29 October 2022.
  5. ^ a b Kumba killings: Goment accuse separatists, deny say army get hand for school killings, BBC, Oct 25, 2020. Accessed Oct 25 ,2020. (Pidgin)
  6. ^ a b c Kumba Massacre: Who Is Responsible?, Cameroon News Agency, Oct 25, 2020. Accessed Oct 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Kumba killings: Six Mother Francisca International Academy students die inside school attack for south west Cameroon, BBC, Oct 24, 2020. Accessed Oct 24, 2020. (Pidgin)
  8. ^ 8 children shot dead by gunmen in Cameroonian school: local media, Xinhua, Oct 24, 2020. Accessed Oct 24, 2020.
  9. ^ Massacre In Kumba School: Amba, Gov’t Play Blame Game, Cameroon News Agency, Oct 24, 2020. Accessed Oct 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Cameroon: I spent a week embedded with Anglophone armed separatists Archived 14 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine, RFI, 14 June 2018. Accessed 14 June 2018.
  11. ^ Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon condemns killing of school children in the South-West region, Reliefweb, Oct 24, 2020. Accessed Oct 24, 2020.
  12. ^ "UN shocked and outraged over horrific attack on school in Cameroon". UN News. 2020-10-26. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  13. ^ Cameroon: Biya declares Saturday October 31 as day of national mourning of victims of Kumba massacre
  14. ^ Cameroon: Ambazonia General who staged Kumba school attack killed, Journal du Cameroun, Oct 29, 2020. Accessed Oct 29, 2020.
  15. ^ Cameroon/Kumba kids massacre: Another suspected killer arrested, Dec 1, 2020. Accessed Dec 3, 2020.
  16. ^ Cameroon: Four get death sentence over Kumba school massacre, Journal du Cameroun, Sep 8, 2021. Accessed Sep 8, 2021.