After the killing of seven school children by armed men in Cameroon, the entire country will observe a national day of mourning this Saturday.
The tragic episode on October 24 in Kumba, a locale in the restive South West region of Cameroon, remains fresh in the memories of Cameroonians.
Armed men stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, and opened fire on students in a classroom. Five died on the spot, while two others later died in hospital. Meanwhile, the attack left more than ten other students injured.
Since then, the nation has been in grief. However, amid the sorrow, citizens have staged emotional protests in some parts of the country. They have continued to denounce the act, and its perpetrators.
The President wants the victims remembered
On Monday, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya condemned the killing of the school children. He, just like many people across the world, expressed his sympathy to the bereaved families.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms, this barbaric and cowardly crime against innocent children,” President Biya wrote on Twitter.
Moreover, he went further on Wednesday, to declare Saturday, 31 October 2020, “a day of national mourning in memory of the victims of the attack, on 24 October 2020.”
“The national flag shall be flown at half-mast all day long throughout the national territory,” Paul Biya declared.
Citizens hold memorials to honour deceased children
In some parts of the country, citizens have held memorial candle lighting ceremonies, to pray for the victims of the “Kumba massacre.”
Kreative Kwame recently lit a candle at a local memorial site in Buea, in memory of the deceased children. Thoughts of his loved ones compelled him to do so.
“I thought of my junior sister, little cousins, nieces…I thought about the children who had nothing to do with whatever is going on in the country,” he told EboniGram.
Kwame equally “prayed for a permanent end to all the suffering that we have seen for four years today: to the cries that our mothers have left; the families that have been scattered; the people who are nowhere to be found; the bodies which have been buried. I prayed for an end.”
As the country remains aggrieved by the frequent loss of lives in the restive Anglophone regions, the general cry is for the armed conflict there to end. But, at what cost?