A Mimi Mefo Info undercover investigation
Inhabitants of Kumba town in the South West region of Cameroon are sceptical to state objectively which group they think is responsible for the killing of seven form one students of Mother Francisca International Memorial College Fiango on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
According a form five student of the school who narrowly escaped the shooting, “…they were twelve boys and most of them were dressed in military and police uniforms. As we got the sounds of the gun shots in form one class, I jumped down through the window. That is where I sustained this injury,” he tells Mimi Mefo Info in an exclusive interview.
He adds that at the moment, he can’t really tell whether they were amba boys or Cameroon security forces.
Questioned the language the attackers were speaking in the course of the operation, our informant says ‘…they were just shooting. I did not get them say a word.”
To a man living around the area, it remains unclear who the killers are. “I was not in the house when this happened. But my question is how can Amba boys leave Matoh village, believed to be the stronghold of the boys, passing through the gendarmerie and other security checks to come and attack this school that is in the quarter?” He questioned in total disbelieve.
The man (name not mentioned for security reasons) says “The proprietress of the school had been paying her dues to Amba boys regularly. This means her school cannot be attacked just like that”.
Payment of dues to amba boys has however not been confirmed by any authority of the school.
Aghim Abono, divisional delegate of secondary education in Meme division has told Mimi Mefo Info that Mother Francisca International Memorial College has been operating without due authorisation from the Ministry of Secondary Education.
To the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Meme division, the school attacked did not officially notify the administration that it was operational for the academic year 2020/2021. Chamberlain Ntou’ou Ndong says “All schools in Meme division were instructed to declare they are operating to permit security forces to guard them. This, the school in question, failed to do.”
Ambazonia fighters, 24 hours after the attack, have not claimed responsibility as in previous attacks.
Last night, Cameroon’s Communication Minister, Rene Sadi denied accusations that the massacre was committed by security forces.
Sadi said: “In addition, the Government strongly refutes these false allegations as well as the subterfuge and other manoeuvres of the said armed bands, who are unscrupulously tending to push the blame of all sort of atrocities against the populations of the North-West and South-West Regions, like the horrific attack of today, on the Cameroonian Armed Forces, through endless campaigns of false propaganda through social media.
“As it is, there is no doubt that the terrorist attack committed in Kumba this day, reflects the disarray and rout of these separatist armed bands, as to the resolve of the educational community, notably, the parents, teachers and students, to defy their threats and slogans, in deciding to resume classes in their respective localities, in accordance with the recommendations and prescriptions of the Government of the Republic.
“That is to say, in other words, that the objective of these separatists is to break the fresh impetus observed in the resumption of classes as part of the start of the 2020/2021 school year in the North-West and South-West Regions, and to thereby dissuade parents from sending their children to school.
“The Government intends on its part, to reaffirm its resolve to carry out all necessary measures to address all the intimidation threats by creating and preserving the conditions that would allow for the pursuit of the back-to school campaign and the security of the educational community of the concerned regions as a whole.
“Allow me on behalf of the Government to present to the deeply bereaved families the sincere condolences of the HEAD OF STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL BIYA, as well as the deep sympathy of the entire Nation.”
In any case, pundits say an investigation is needed to apportion responsibility. They recall the Ngarbuh incident where soldiers killed children and pregnant women and put the blame on separatist fighters.