SCHOOL CHILDREN FORCED OUT OF SCHOOLS FOR 3 YEARS DUE TO VIOLENT CONFLICT IN CAMEROUN
74 SCHOOLS DESTROYED; 80% OF THE SCHOOLS SHUT AND 600,000 FORCED OUT OF SCHOOL
CONFLICT BEGAN IN 2017 WHEN CAMEROUNIAN GOVERNMENT IMPOSED FRENCH ON ENGLISH-SPEAKERS
School children in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroun have been out of school for a fourth academic year in a row due to violent conflict between the a separatist fighting group and the government.
WATCH DISTURBING VIDEO SHOWING THE VIOLENT CONFLICT
The separatist group, who is fighting for independence for English-speaking heartland from the majority French-speaking in the country, is forcefully locking down the cities, towns and villages in the two heavily-militarised regions of Cameroun.
The insurgent separatist group are employing hit-and-run military strategy in battle with the government military group.
School children were due to get back to school by September 2 but parents are rather fleeing their homes to other regions of the country in fear of escalation of the conflict.
Government troops deployed to guard the classrooms in some areas are at the risk of being targeted of the armed separatist fighters.
The United Nations International Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) said that 80% of the schools are shut, with about 600,000 children out of school as a result of the conflict in the regions. 74 schools had been destroyed in the warring regions of the country, according to a report.
In one incident, 80 pupils, their principal and a teacher – who defied the lockdown – were kidnapped last year, before being released about a week later.
It wasn’t clear who was responsible for the kidnap as the separatist fighting group denied involvement in the abduction even though it was blamed for the government.
The violent conflict started in 2016 when the government increased the use of French in schools and courts in the major English-speaking regions.
The government’s action triggered huge mass protests that gradually metamorphosed into a full-fledge rebellion in 2017. The conflict became warring when some civilians took up arms in anger as government deployed troops to crush the protests.
Thousands of people including soldiers, separatists and civilians had been killed and not less than 500,000 displaced since the conflict began.