Back-to-school campaigns flop in Buea, Amidst Lockdown, Mayor Ekema’s Destruction

NEWS

Schools in Buea, capital of Cameroon’s Southwest Region have been largely boycotted owing to threats from pro-independence fighters.

Monday, September 2, 2019, was the resumption date for schools in Cameroon for the 2019-2020 Academic year. In Buea, the turn-out of pupils and students was very poor.

Atlantic Chronicles visited some primary and secondary schools located in Great Soppo Buea, Bilingual Grammar School, Molyko but there was no sign of resumption as school vicinities remained deserted by students.

On why they have not gone school, a student whose identity has been concealed said “Today is a ghost town. How can I go to school when there are no taxis? I am not sure we will go to school for days. I am prepared to start whenever my parents permit me to”

To some of these students, their parents asked them to stay home on the basis of no security assurance.

Some of these parents recounted that the crisis have compelled them to send their children to other regions for studies.

At about noon, on September 2, Mt Cameroon FM reported that Southwest Governor was touring schools to inspect the resumption. The state commercial radio added that Bernard Okalia Bilai visited some school in Limbe where the children were present to learn.

We cannot confirm for sure whether the Governor, during expedition met any student or pupil in any of the schools in the Buea Municipality.

Timid Lockdown and Ekema’s Wanton Destruction

The lockdown imposed by Ambazonia fighters is yet to yield their desired results in Buea, as activities in the upper part of the town are timidly going on.  

At about 10 am on September 2, the Mayor of Buea, Mr Ekema Patrick Esunge went amok, sealing shops and destroying others, especially makeshift petit-businesses along the road.

In Great Soppo, shop owners rushed to their business sites for fear that the Mayor and his team will vandalise their shops, or at the least, seal them. 

Atlantic Chronicles observed few taxis on circulation, though other private and military cars outnumbered taxis on the road.

The Mayor was guarded by heavily armed military personnel throughout his movement around town, as he destroyed and sealed shops. 

After Midday, images spread on social media of shops and makeshift structures destroyed at the Mile 17 Moto Park in Buea. Those who opened their shops disclosed to us that, they were not going to sell on grounds that their shops might be targeted at night. “We are sitting in front of our shops so that the Mayor should not seal or destroy them,” some said. All these are as a result of the lockdown declared by separatists for two weeks to frustrate school resumption in Anglophone Cameroon. The Anglophone crisis has been raging on for three years now, consequently resulting in some children of school-going age, staying at home for three years and counting.

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