Home / English / Students in Cameroon Separatist Areas Urged to Go Back to School
Cameroon's minister of secondary education, Nalova Lyonga, speaks to the media after encouraging teachers to go to school, in Buea, Cameroon, July 17, 2019. (Moki Kindzeka/VOA)

Students in Cameroon Separatist Areas Urged to Go Back to School

MENJI, CAMEROON VOA | Cameroon’s civil society groups are urging young people to return to schools in the country’s volatile English-speaking regions. Most schools in the two regions have been closed because of attacks and kidnappings stemming from the war between separatists and the military.

The back-to-school campaign is being carried out by associations of traditional rulers, clergy, parents and members of Cameroon’s national assembly.

“We have come with a message of peace so that our children should go back to school,” Donatus Nembo, who works for the education department of the Catholic Church, said of his group’s efforts speaking to parents in the market square in Menji, southwest Cameroon.

“To those of our children who are still holding arms we are begging, begging them to lay down their arms, join us in good faith,” he said. “They should trust us, because with us they can be re-integrated so that together, we continue to rebuild our division [administrative area] which has been rendered backward.”

Nicoline Asherri, 16, is excited to go back to school.

“Yes, I really want to go back to school,” she said. “We cannot sit for years without schooling. It is not normal. … Seriously, so that we can go back to school because children are growing and some of them will never go back to school again. Some of them are already pregnant, some of them have gone astray now.”

Asherri has not been in school for two years, since she and 90 other students were kidnapped from a college in the northwestern town of Kumbo and released after two days.

The fighters had warned school authorities to stop all academic activity.

Teacher Mercy Beri says she is afraid to return to her high school.

“I was kidnapped. My principal was kidnapped. How do you expect me to go back?” she said. “I do not know whether if I go back they will kidnap me or what. Schools have been burned, they have not done any reconstruction. Where are we going to be teaching the children? How are we going to teach them, where, in space? Outside? How are the children going to be secured?”

An estimated 80 percent of the schools in the north and southwest have been closed since separatists began their uprising in 2017, citing the alleged overbearing use of French in the African country.

The only schools still open are in big towns such as Bamenda, capital of the northwest region, and Buea, capital of the southwest region, where there is relative calm.

Cameroon’s minister of secondary education, Nalova Lyonga, praised children and teachers who want to brave the crisis and return to schools in their villages.

“It takes a lot of courage to get up and say, ‘I am going to school at this time,'” Lyonga said. “That is why I am here to say that you have carried the sacrifice so far. Carry it to the end. These are people who have sacrificed a lot.”

The government says at least 130 schools have been burned by separatist fighters. But on social media, separatists blame the military, saying it is destroying schools suspected of being used as hiding places by the fighters.

The military has denied the accusation.

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24 comments

  1. Camer believer (Colby)

    Terrorists must allow students to go to schools anyways we will never ever allow them to inoculate idiocy to the people of the NW/SW.

  2. This is just crazy. I can’t understand how preventing kids from going to school is going to achieve their separation foolishness. These idiots in the diaspora have their own kids going to school while preventing the anglophone kids from going to school in the name of fighting for their freedom. What a wicked group of animals. What do they expect these kids to become without any education? How does not going to school free them from marginalization? These Ambazonia idiots preventing kids from going to school, didn’t they go to the same schools? Some of them even had scholarship to study abroad as a result of the education from these schools. These idiots don’t have the balls to confront Biya’s BIRs like the BAS and have taken anglophone kids hostage pretending they are fighting for them.

  3. Blame the separatists. What a convenient solution to the three-year conflict!
    When in doubt, blame the separatists. The kidnapping of Magistrate Valentine Chi Bumoh and Lawyer George Sang from Bamenda are the work of the separatists.

    No use to mention burnt school buildings. No use to worry about children safety and security. Just go back to school even if teachers have been kidnapped, killed or locked i

    N’est-ce pas, Minister of Secondary Enseignement?

    • Camer believer (Colby)

      @Sabi all aka hypocrite Who according to you is responsible for the burning of schools, kidnapping of students and so on your positions have being so unstable since the beginning of this stupidity one hand you play for the government the other for the terrorists under the fallacious pretext of been an “Anglophone”facts are there.

  4. A lost generation in those areas is in the making.
    Blame ambazozos

  5. Minister, a camerounization slave. No one will follow camerounization curricula

  6. @bobjazz You this half-baked SCnian with one parent East of the mungo.U are blaming Ambazonian leaders for staying abroad and sending their children to school,while they deprived other children in SC,not NW and SW from going to school,right? U leaders in Yaounde that are asking children to do to school,in a situation of insecurity,have u asked them why they are not sending their own children to go and school in SC,in order to set example?Back to school is not suppose to be a collective decision.If any parent believes that her child will be safe while going to school in a war thorn area,let the parent send her child,if others do not believe that their children will be safe,they won’t send them.I want to challenge u to go and put your own child to school in SC.

    • What a thoughtful analysis.

    • Camer believer (Colby)

      @kongossa who according to you is more affected by this stupidity? Leaders in Yaounde have all their children schooling in normal conditions stick on that inoculation of idiocy to your fellow we will see what will be the outcome unfortunately many of those abetting terrorists are people with no culture of school so no wonder.

    • @ Kongosa man use your brain fellow. Who is preventing kids from going to school ? It is the Ambazonia thugs and not the Biya regime. As much as I hate both of you guys, the group destroying the future of anglophone kids is your Ambazonia thugs. How does preventing kids from going to school now for 3 years help your cause?

  7. @bobjazz If u keep calling us anglophones,u will never resolve this issue.If u want to resolve this issue,u should start by calling us SCnians,that way,u will know the root cause of the problem and how to solve it.We(Africans) did not creat German Cameroon,Europeans did.We(Africans) did not creat SC and LRC to be two seperate political entities before 1961,Europeans did.So,if u keep calling us anglophones,instead of SCnians,u will never know how to solve the problem.It is not a problem of ”anglophone” marginalisation.It is a problem of a francophone state(LRC) annexing an anglophone state (SC) and dictating it’s laws to the anglophone state.

    • Good analysis

    • @ Kongosa man this is exactly why I think you are very very stupid. The fun is that I have a South African friend who has been following this issue and thinks your Ambazonia group is the most stupid group he has ever read about fighting for the freedom of their people. For your information I am an African who doesn’t give a damn about what the Europeans did in dividing Africa for their national interest. All I think about is the Africa and Cameroon God created. God created Cameroon as one country and that’s what I respect. There is no such thing as Southern Cameroon. That was a European fabrication to evenly distribute Cameroon’s resources among themselves. It’s only a stupid and mentally enslaved and colonized African who can take this European boundaries into consideration.

      • Hey Sir,
        This is not factual.
        God did not create Cameroon.
        This is pure European creation and to say the contrary is really shameful.
        Please do not involve the white man God in what Cameroon is.
        In fact Cameroon is not a real country and as such we should just find a way to cohabiting.

  8. @bobjazz The laws in Monaco are not the same as the ones in mainland France.The laws in California and that of South Carolina are different,but they are all states of the same country.The laws in Quebec is different from the ones in mainland Canada.SC laws should be different from that in LRC but that is not the case.When Ahidjo fraudulently changed the form of the state in 1972,he sat down and crafted a new constitution that all land belongs to the state,by extension,all land belongs to France,including SC.Reason why we have problem today over land grabbing in Fako,where the bakweri people’s ancestral lands that the Germans took to open the CDC plantation,instead of handing those lands back to the indigenes,beti administrators in fako are taking those lands for free.

    • @ Kongosa man, I am sorry I can’t respond to you anymore. I am not a European I am an African and I don’t give a damn about what the Europeans fabricated in Africa. The late Bob cried before passing away and asked us to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery as none but ourselves can free our minds. The Biya regime is our problem and not the French speaking Cameroonians. The Rwandans who reasoned like you had to kill thousands of their own brothers and sisters before coming to their senses. I hope your foolishness doesn’t lead us to that. Those were the dark ages of Africa.

    • Look at this another ignoramus roaming this site.
      Monaco is not part of France and therefore has its own laws.
      Think before writing sh&[email protected] in here.
      You look dumb

  9. Attending school, entails having a place called home, a bed, freedom of everything,
    food, water etc etc etc , Nalova. Your ambition to have a good name in Bya`s books,
    will never be attained. You have chosen the wrong side of the story. You are not a
    minister, talk less of one in the area of education. So so sad, you old lady.

  10. Parents send their children to school in a warzone will be doing so at their own risk.

    The reason is simple to understand:

    LRC terrorist soldiers will massacre the school children and put the blame at the doorsteps of Amba boys.

    As a reminder,

    these same LRC terrorist soldiers massacred a FOUR MONTHS old child in Muyuka and claimed the child was killed by Amba boys.

    “En avril 2018, une vidéo montrant deux hommes habillés en uniforme de l’armée camerounaise, exécuter sommairement deux femmes et deux enfants. Après avoir, dans un premier temps, crier à la manipulation, le gouvernement avait dû, sous la pression, reconnaitre que l’acte effroyable avait été commis par des militaires”.

    IF YOU LOVE YOUR CHILD DO NOT SEND HIM/HER TO SCHOOL UNTIL A CEASEFIRE IS DECLARED. LRC IS EVIL

  11. @Camer believer (Colby) Let me ask u,if children in a country are not schooling because of insecurity,who is to be blamed? the government or the seccessionists? anybody with sound reason will tell u that the government is the one to be blamed.Blaming the seccessionists means u don’t even know the role of your government and u are not ready to hold them responsible.Crying over spilled milk will not help u my friend.The best u can do is to blame your government for the insecurity,which is making parents to withdraw their children from the war thorn area to go and school east of the mungo.

  12. @Camer believer (Colby) ”who according to you is more affected by this stupidity?”…There u go again.Shying to hold your government for not being able to protect and secure the people it called her citizens.
    Instead of blaming your government for creating a situation of insecurity in SC,u are busy duelling on people that are more affected.Are the people from SC no longer citizens of the Yaounde regime? Are they not suppose to be worried that the children are out of school?

  13. Une fois de plus, Biya vient d’être battu à son propre jeu.

    Il crée un contre-mouvement avec la complicité de quelques personnes pour saboter la révolution de l’Ambazonie.

    De faux Amba boys qui tuent, violent et terrorisent les populations ainsi pour créer le KO et amener les populations à rejeter la révolution, mais manque de chance, toutes les familles ont l’un des leurs tué par les militaires et ces militaires ne sont pas les bienvenus.(Gagner le coeur des populations = Échec). Voyant que la stratégie ne marche pas, il essaye de saboter avec l’achat de quelques guerriers pour semer le KO chez les combattants de la liberté.

    FREEDOM for AMBAZONIA.

  14. IF BIYA HATES ANGLOPHONE KIDS, HOW DO YOU EXPECT HIM TO FIGHT FOR ANGLOPHONE KIDS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL?

    IF YOU CLAIM YOU LOVE ANGLOPHONE KIDS, HOW CAN YOU PREVENT ANGLOPHONE KIDS FROM GOING TO SCHOOL?

    HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE SAME BIYA YOU CLAIM HATES ANGLOPHONE KIDS TO FIGHT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PREVENTING ANGLOPHONE KIDS FROM GOING TO SCHOOL IN ORDER FOR ANGLOPHONE KIDS TO GO TO SCHOOL?

    YOU AMBAZONIANS ARE A BUNCH OF CONFUSED IDIOTS. THAT NJAMA NJAMA DI CONFUSE WUNA HEAD.

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