Several others wounded after attackers, armed with guns and machetes, stormed school in city of Kumba, Southwest Region.
At least eight children were killed and a dozen wounded after attackers stormed a school in southwestern Cameroon with guns and machetes, the United Nations said.
Arriving on motorbikes and in civilian clothes, the men attacked the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in the city of Kumba, in the country’s Southwest Region, at around midday on Saturday.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, described by the UN as “the worst atrocity” since the resumption of the school year earlier this month.
It was not clear if the attack was linked to a continuing struggle between government forces and armed groups in the English-speaking west seeking to form a breakaway state.
“At least eight children were killed as a result of gunshots and attack with machetes. Another twelve were wounded and taken to local hospitals,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.
Some children were reportedly injured jumping from second-storey windows. Videos circulating on social media filmed by local journalists appeared to show adults rushing from the school with children in their arms, surrounded by wailing onlookers.
One photo verified by the Reuters news agency showed the inside of a classroom, where a pile of dried blood had pooled on the floor near some scattered flip-flops.
“They found the children in class and they opened fire on them,” city sub-prefect Ali Anougou told Reuters.
Isabel Dione ran into the school to search for her 12-year-old daughter when she heard about the shooting. She found her on the floor of a classroom, bleeding from the stomach.
She was helpless and she was shouting ‘mum please help me’, and I told her ‘only your God can save you now’,” Dione told Reuters. The girl was rushed to hospital where she is undergoing treatment for a gunshot wound.
Local education official Ahhim Abanaw Obase confirmed six deaths of children aged between 12 and 14 and added that another eight had been taken to hospital.
“I am shocked and outraged by the killing of innocent school children [who] were attending school to get an education,” said Matthias Z Naab, the UN’s resident humanitarian coordinator in Cameroon.
“Children have a right to education. Violence against schools and innocent school children is not acceptable under any circumstances and can constitute a crime against humanity if proven in a court of law. I call on the competent authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this tragedy,” added Naab.
African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said: “There are no words of grief nor condemnation strong enough to articulate my full horror at the brutal attack targeting primary schoolchildren … as they sat learning in their classroom.”
Innocent school children brutally killed by armed men in Cameroon. God heal Africa ! 💔 #EndAnglophoneCrisis
— #WeDeserveBetter 🕊✊ (@theibim) October 25, 2020
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