By Pang Joseph, Saturday, August 26, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Last month, we reported the deployment of security cameras to some towns and schools in Anglophone Cameroon as well as plans by the Cameroon government to fill school campuses with military men and women. The Cameroon Journal can now authoritatively report that we have witnessed the heavy militarisation of some public schools in Anglophone Cameroon, precisely in the city of Kumba, Southwest Region.
An investigative mission took our reporter to two prominent schools in Kumba where thousands of student Inspectors of Police have been deployed with the mission to clampdown on residents at the slightest provocation of unrest. They are camped precisely in the premises of Government Technical High School, GTHS Kumba and the Cameroon College of Arts and Science, CCAS Kumba. They are occupying dormitories meant for the student population.
To make sure that they are not inclined to empathize with the Southern Cameroons cause, most of the uniform men, we found out, are Francophones. Majority of them have no knowledge of the English language. They are appear hostile and do not talk or engage with the press or anybody they cannot identify. The Cameroon Journal learned that their mission is partly to protect the school facilities as well as make incursions into town as swiftly as possible where necessary.
Some residents of Kumba told The Cameroon Journal that the student officers from time-to-time carry out covert raids in town.
A Christian of the Presbyterian Church Kumba Mbeng recounted how they were surprised one Sunday by the presence of the police officers around the entrance into their church. He said it created such atmosphere of fear in their hearts as they began wondering what the Church may have done. He added that they don’t trust them because they are always very brutal and lack understanding. In town, he said, “most people consider them to be foreigners,” since they neither “understand the people nor their language or way of life.”
The Cameroon Journal learned that the student officers were sent as replacement to the first contingent of soldiers sent when the Anglophone crisis first escalated in October last year. That first contingent was lodged in some military installations around the city of Kumba and they were there for months.
It is worth observing that, schools are supposed to officially resume for the 2017/18 academic year on September 4th. While activists of the Southern Cameroons have vowed to get schools completely shutdown for the entire season, Gov’t has said it will deploy every available means to get students to resume classes. How gov’t intends to do it remains to be seen especially when it has now resorted to deploying uniform officers to occupy dormitories that the students supposed to be moving into.