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US News Child murders in Kumba: President Biya criticized for his late reaction

09:30  27 october  2020
09:30  27 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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image captionSome children were injured when they jumped from second floor in an attempt to escape. Gunmen have stormed a private school in a restive area of Officials in the south-western city of Kumba blamed Anglophone secessionists for the attack. This has not been independently confirmed.

All media content. Latest Programs. Podcasts. Cameroon's government has blamed Anglophone separatist militants for the killing of eight children in Kumba in the country's Southwest Region. Cameroon's reclusive President Paul Biya has been criticized for his handling of the Anglophone

Le président camerounais Paul Biya à Lyon, le 10 octobre 2019. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP Cameroonian President Paul Biya in Lyon, October 10, 2019.

The Cameroonian President finally expressed his condolences, via Twitter, to the victims of the massacre of Saturday, October 24 at a school in Kumba, in the English-speaking southwest, in which seven students aged 9 to 12 were killed.

With our correspondent in Yaoundé, Polycarpe Essomba

His silence made more than cringe. It had become heavy and heavy, even incomprehensible for many Cameroonians. More than 48 hours after the Kumba massacre, Paul Biya finally broke it. On Monday afternoon, the Cameroonian president for the first time through a series of tweets, four in total, delivered his feelings on this tragedy: “I learned with great sadness the horrible assassination of several pupils in the town of Kumba, ”wrote Paul Biya. In a second tweet, he said "condemn with the utmost firmness this barbaric and cowardly crime against the innocent".

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► Read also: Anglophone Cameroon: several children killed in the attack on a school

His condolences, he sent them to the bereaved families as well as to the educational community. He finally ended by indicating that he had already instructed that "appropriate measures be taken with diligence, so that the perpetrators of these acts are arrested and brought to justice".

These presidential tweets did not silence criticism and even mockery on social networks. "You are finally waking up, Mr. President!" Could we read here and there. Some even ask him to personally return to Kumba, bring his compassion to the victims.

Small solidarity rallies were held on Monday in various cities across the country to pay tribute to the seven children killed and the dozen others injured in the attack on Saturday.

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▪ A crisis which weighs very heavily on the country

Begun in 2016, the crisis continues to destroy the English-speaking regions of Cameroon where populations live between fear of abuses by separatist militias, armed gangs and sometimes brutal military operations. At the end of September there were more than 710,000 displaced persons, according to the High Commissioner for Refugees. Among the consequences of this crisis, the economic fabric is dilapidated, companies in these regions are tormented, and this has consequences for all Cameroonian societies.

According to the latest study by GICAM, Cameroon's inter-employer group on the business environment in the country, more than 88% of Cameroonian companies say they are affected by this situation. They have lost more than 785 billion CFA francs (1.2 billion euros) in turnover in three years.

Alain-Blaise Batongué also recalls that his organization had made proposals to support companies during the national dialogue last year, but that the health crisis prevented any implementation.

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