“Armed terrorists attacked Lycée technique d'Esu in the Fungom district,” the senior divisional officer of the Menchum division (North-West region) reported in a press release issued on December 12. The armed men, suspected of being separatists, molested students and teaching staff, stripping and torturing pupils before setting fire to two classrooms and the principal’s office, the release indicates.
The administrative authority also reports that a censor, a general supervisor, and eight students were subsequently abducted. Fortunately, he adds, the injured were taken to the hospital, where their prognosis was not life-threatening, and the eight pupils were released "following the intervention of the defense and security forces." The release nevertheless provides no information on the fate of the abducted school officials.
This incident is part of a disturbing trend where separatist militias frequently target schools. In June 2022, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) released a report titled "Education Under Attack 2022," highlighting a surge in attacks on schools in the crisis-ridden regions of the North West and South West.
Consistent with these alarming developments, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) in Cameroon has consistently issued warnings. "Since 2017, going to school in the North-West and South-West regions has been a perilous journey for children and teachers, shadowed by constant threats and violent attacks. In just the first half of 2023, at least 13 such incidents targeted schools, including kidnappings and assaults," Ocha reported last October.