UN chief shocked at attack on school in Cameroon

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.PHOTO/AP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday expressed shock at Saturday’s horrific attack on a school in Kumba in Cameroon’s Southwest region, in which several children were reportedly killed and several others wounded, said his spokesman.

The attack is another disturbing reminder of the exacting heavy toll on civilians, including children, many of whom have been deprived of their right to education. Attacks on education facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.

The secretary-general extended his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wished a swift recovery to the wounded. He urged the Cameroonian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. He called on all armed actors to refrain from attacks against civilians and to respect international humanitarian and international human rights law, said the statement.

The secretary-general strongly urged the parties to answer his call for a global cease-fire. He reiterated the availability of the United Nations to support an inclusive dialogue process leading to a resolution of the crisis in the restive Northwest and Southwest regions.

Separatists have been seeking to secede from the majority French-speaking Cameroon and create an independent nation in the two Anglophone regions, which they call “Ambazonia.” They have been clashing with government forces since 2017.