Gunmen have opened fire killing at least 6 school children in separatist insurgents controlled areas of Cameroon, according to local officials.
Gunmen dressed in civilian clothes and riding on motorbikes hit the Mother Francisca school, a private school in Fiango region, around midday in the city of Kumba in the South-west region of Cameroon, according to several accounts, including from one parent outside the school at the time.
About 9 school children were injured jumping from second-storey windows and were later conveyed to the hospitals.
It was unclear if the attack was linked to a continuing struggle between the army and groups seeking to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia in the English-speaking west.
Since 2017, Southern Cameroon has seen hundreds die and thousands displaced because of conflict bothering on secession, with many children unable to attend school.
“They found the children in class and they opened fire on them,” city sub-prefect Ali Anougou told Reuters.
Tensions between Cameroon’s minority English-speaking community and the national authorities remain high in the Northwest and Southwest regions, where a separatist movement has transformed into a low-level armed insurgency. The situation has deteriorated considerably since September 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations estimates that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict, with more than 675,000 others believed to have been internally displaced.
Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions comprise more of English speaking natives in a country largely populated by French speaking natives. This sees the dominance of the majority French speaking natives over the minority English speaking regions.