Woe Betides A Nation That Feeds On Its Progeny

Column, Human Rights, Opinion

By Isidore Abah

The act was intrinsically vitriolic, acerbic, and at best bestial.

How could the lives of young innocuous children be harvested in the cruellest of manner?

What did these lambs do to merit this dastardly onslaught on them?                                              

Their skulls were cracked; their bodies perforated with bullets, their brains drilled with ammunitions and their limbs shattered in despicable proportion.

Future lawyers, medics, ministers, teachers, engineers, pilots, journalists, among others, who represented the chivalrous future of our country were murdered in cold blood, just to prove a point.

Today, the seven school children of Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Kumba, whose lives were cut at their prime, October 24, stand as Martyrs of Education.

They have paid the supreme price for education and their blood should not be spilt in vain.

After this vile pogrom on these innocent school children, Cameroonians took the streets, social and conventional media, protesting, hash-tagging, mourning, grieving, praying and condemning the carnage.

The outpouring from within and without Cameroon was total.  In reaction, President Biya decreed October 31 as National Day of Mourning in respect of the souls of the departed children.

Requiems and ecumenical services were held in honour of the slain kids, and the country’s flag flown at half-mast, attesting to the tragedy that has befallen our hitherto land of promise, land of glory, which has today morphed into land of impunity and animosity. 

Never in history have Cameroonians been so unanimous on an issue. 

The Kumba school killings were horrific and malevolent, which many Cameroonians were not intimidated even by armed troops, marauding with rifles, AK47s to say “enough is enough.”   

However, beneath this fusillade of criticisms and outrage, lied a cynical volley of hypocrisy and two-facedness. 

Politicians hijacked this tragic incident to make political capital for their selfish interest; some civil society activists used the wailing of distressed mothers to beg money from foreign donors; to administrators, the Kumba school massacre accorded them the opportunity to make profits out of the war economy, and some media organs became partisan in their reporting, accusing one part of the belligerents for the holocaust.

Equity in reporting admonishes reporters to remain non-partisan until when they have established cast-iron evidence that a party in a conflict is responsible for the killings, but this was not the case with the Kumba carnage.

Loopholes In The Carnage Chronicle

Angered by the cruel manner in which children were slaughtered on the altar of education, many Cameroonians failed to ask the basic questions about what really happened at the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Fiango- Kumba, on October 24.

It is not very uncommon for people to be emotional when confronted by such adversities.  But after a sober reflection, it is worthwhile to ask pertinent questions that can help us unmask these cannibals. 

As a quick reminder, Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Fiango- Kumba is located on Bamilike Street, some 300 metres from the main road. It is situated at the economic and administrative heartbeat of Meme Division. 

The school is just a three minutes’ walk from the Kumba Main Market and five minutes away from the Fiango Police Station. It is equally very close to the 21st Infantry Battalion Brigade and the Fiango Train Station which is also heavily guarded.   

Besides, from the Kossala Gendarmerie Post to the school is just a six minutes’ drive. How on earth could these monstrous individuals have invaded the school, slaughtered children and left without anyone noticing?

Again, what were Form One students doing in school on Saturday without any teacher or school official on campus?  If there was a teacher in class, what subject was the teacher teaching before the incident? Was the Saturday class specifically organised only for form one’s students? What of the other classes? Why have the school authorities not vouchsafed a word since the carnage on the school?

In the Anglo-Saxon system of Education, only examination classes are permitted to be in school on Saturdays and this is not always at the beginning of the school year. The presence of Form One students in school without a teacher in class is not only worrisome but suspicious.

Furthermore, for the hoodlums to have entered the school, operated and left without a trace, in an institution that is surrounded by various security posts also raises curious eyebrows.

There is more to the Kumba school killings than meets the eye.  Like Minister Nalova Lyonga of Secondary Education observed, they are several errors that have been committed by the school administration which should not be undermined.  The Kumba school carnage rather appeared to have been well planned and executed.

Cameroonians and the international community shouldn’t end only at condemning the act; action needs to be taken to end such barbarism.

After the Kumba massacre, Ministers have made several trips to Kumba, spending millions of taxpayers’ money for condolence visits. Millions will be spent to bury the kids, others to pay hospital bills and some given to the grieving families as compensation for the death of their children. Will this money bring back the slain children, who were supposed to be the future of Cameroon?

Would it not be cheaper for this senseless war to be called-off and the belligerents brought to the dialogue table to end this nightmare?  

Who are we protecting the territorial integrity of Cameroon for when all the country’s off-springs are slaughtered daily? Is Government reticent to end the war because its Ministers and security operatives are feeding fat from the war economy?

To the hoodlums who committed us such an atrocious act; you shall never escape the wrath of God. Woe unto you and your generations. It’s time to end the war and save Cameroon from annihilation.

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