Angel produced from the shards of glass at the art and culture centre in Bethlehem.

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

“The WCC joins with the churches and all people of good will in Cameroon and around the world in condemning this abhorrent act, in commiserating with the families and communities affected, and in praying for the healing of the wounded children,” said Sauca.

The suffering of the people of the southwest and northwest regions of Cameroon has gone beyond the limits of understanding, Sauca continued. “This atrocity against innocent schoolchildren piles yet more unbearable pain upon pain,” he said.

Cameroonian church leaders have reacted to the recent bloodshed with outrage and demands for action.

Bishop Agapitus Nfon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumba lamented the loss of these young lives: “How much of the blood of our children need to be shed before something concrete and immediate is done? How long will the powers that be and are capable of restoring peace and tranquility in the distressed North West and South West Regions sit and wait?”

Youth in Cameroon holding signs "We want a Cameroon where children can go to school and come back alive"

The moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, Rt Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba, in a communique on 25 October, prayed for justice for the victims and accountability for those responsible: “May those behind these gruesome killings of God's children be imprisoned by the judge of the human conscience even before they are found out, prosecuted and sentenced.”

The attack took place in the context of ongoing sociopolitical upheavals and violence since 2016, and follows numerous other attacks and atrocities, including the massacre of 21 civilians – among them 13 children and a pregnant woman – in Ngarbuh in February 2020.

“The WCC appeals for renewed efforts for a comprehensive and more inclusive dialogue to address the current security, humanitarian and human rights challenges in the affected regions,” said Sauca. “The WCC stands in solidarity with and offers its support and accompaniment to the churches of Cameroon as they seek to fulfil their essential ministry for justice, peace and human dignity and rights.”

Read the full WCC statement on school children killings in Kumba, Cameroon