The World Council of Churches (WCC) is horrified by the news of the brutal attack on school children at the Mother Francisca International Academy in Kumba, South-West Province, Cameroon, on 24 October 2020. Unidentified gunmen killed at least 8 children in their classroom with guns and machetes, while 12 others were injured and taken to hospital. 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.
The suffering of the people of the south-west and north-west regions of Cameroon has gone beyond the limits of understanding. This atrocity against innocent schoolchildren piles yet more unbearable pain upon pain. 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 tranquillity in the distressed North West and South West Regions sit and wait?”
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, the 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.”
This attack takes place in the context of ongoing socio-political upheavals and violence in the North West and South West regions 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. 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.
We join with Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba in praying: “May all the stakeholders listen to their consciences and be compelled to bring this war to an end. God's children are suffering, the Body of Christ is afflicted and the name of God is disregarded. God forgive our sins as a people and help Cameroon.”
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Interim General Secretary
World Council of Churches