There is need to silence the guns in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon to allow learners to resume the academic year 2022/2023, members of the Commission for Justice and Peace (CJPC) in Cameroon’s Bamenda Archdiocese have said.
On September 5, the 2022/2023 academic year kicked off in Cameroon with a poor turnout reportedly recorded in the North West and South West Regions, areas that have been witnessing conflict.
In a Wednesday, September 14 statement shared with ACI Africa, CJPC members say, “The Justice and Peace Commission, Bamenda Laments over the surge in violence in the North West and South West regions within the September 2022/2023 academic year in Cameroon.”
They further lament, “For more than five years, thousands of children in the two conflict-affected English-speaking regions of Cameroon have not been able to attend school due to the protracted armed conflict.”
“Silencing the guns and giving our children the opportunity to pave their future through education will make the world a better place to live in,” members of CJPC of Bamenda Archdiocese say, and add, “We have had our chance to live and to be; let us not deprive them (children) of theirs.”
They note in reference to the protracted violent conflict in the Central African nation that “teachers, students, academic structures and property have been direct targets over the years.”
Cameroon’s English-speaking regions plunged into conflict in 2016 after a protest by lawyers and teachers turned violent. An armed movement of separatists claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on protesters.
School boycotts have become common in these areas, as have enforced moratoriums on public life known as "ghost towns".
On August 21, members of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC) lamented the protracted conflict in the country’s Anglophone regions, that has been characterized by “the piteous and distressing cries of anguish”.
The Catholic Church leaders at the helm of Bamenda Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Kumbo, Kumba, Mamfe and Buea Dioceses underscored the need to respect the dignity of the human person created in God's image and likeness and the sacredness and inviolability of human life.