Cameroon president calls for school attackers to be brought to justice

Cameroonian President Paul Biya speaks during the regional security summit on Boko Haram threat to African security in Abuja, on May 14, 2016. Regional and Western powers were urged to do more to stop the threat from Boko Haram, as the UN voiced concern about its ties to the Islamic State group and the militants' threat to African security. / AFP / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Cameroonian President Paul Biya speaks during a past event. (Photo credit PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Cameroonian President Paul Biya called for the individuals behind the fatal attack on a school in the country’s Southwest region to be arrested and face the law.

Last week, attackers armed with guns and machetes killed at least eight children during a raid on a school in Kumba, according to the United Nations. The attack, described as one of the worst in the region to date, also left at least twelve others injured.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack which drew widespread condemnation from local and international leaders.

Biya made the remarks on Saturday as the nation observed a day of national mourning in honour of the victims.

Biya condemned the attack and instructed that “appropriate measures be taken diligently to ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are apprehended by our Defence and Security Forces and brought to justice.’’

The national flag was also flown at half-mast all day long throughout the country.

Cameroon has been plagued by protests and violence since 2016 as residents in English-speaking regions claim they have been marginalized for several years by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

The two English-speaking regions, Southwest and Northwest provinces, became the epicentre of the conflict involving separatist militants who have targeted the army and demanded the closure of local government offices and schools.

Over time, the movement became more radicalised and separatists renamed the regions the Republic of Ambazonia, which has never been recognised internationally.

The conflict has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced over 700,000 people to flee their homes since 2017.