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Ghost town thwarts school resumption in NW, SW

The widespread calls for effective school resumption on Monday, September 3, 2018, produced little or no results as the ghost town phenomenon seems to have thwarted all the efforts and campaigns made by Government officials.

Even in areas where officials had boasted and banked on security assurance, the streets remained deserted as mostly sounds of chirping birds and sometimes wondering animals could be heard.

Ghosted Buea Street

In the quarters, some neighbours who wouldn’t dare move out could be heard asking passers-by how the situation is at the roads side. With the ghost town coincidentally falling on a day that schools were to reopen, the experience in the two trouble-plagued English-speaking Regions rather showed one of frustration and fright.

Streets in Buea, Limbe and other towns in Fako where school officials had remained upbeat on the possibility of a favourable back to school adherence were also drowned in the ghost town phenomenon.

At the roads, few cars, mostly military pickups and vehicles of Special Forces could be seen from time to time, speeding to their various points of assignment on the deserted roads.

In some areas of the Northwest Region like Ndop, Kikaikom in Kumbo and some parts of Bamenda main town and environs, reports of hostilities emerged.

In some cases, reports held that some teachers and few students who showed up were harassed by unidentified men, while in others, gun scuffles are reported to have emerged between the military and armed militia groups. Scores of teachers were reportedly abducted on that September 3, by yet to be identified men.

In some communities, motto parks were earlier flooded with parents who were trying to send their children away from their troubled communities to other areas they deemed safe.

Some parents on their part had earlier evacuated their children from the troubled Regions to some other French-speaking Regions where schools are operating unperturbed.

Although calls for school reopening were, critics had opined that the calls and efforts for school resumption may all be futile given that the main reason for school boycott, which is the insecurity in the troubled communities still remain unattended to by the competent authorities.

Such opinion holders have argued that no parent, no matter the level of security assurance or presence of soldiers, will allow their children to go to school in a community mired in frequent gunfights that have resulted in considerable loss of lives.

Others have argued that the constant presence of gun-carrying soldiers on school campuses, the inundation of roads with machine guns and contingents of troops and sometimes armoured vehicles, rather scare parents and even make the environment unsafe for learning and teaching process, especially given that the presence of troops in certain areas often attract separatist fighters, who from time to time, sneak around and ambush, with the results often being the killing of the innocent civilians caught in the middle of such fights.

Though it is still early to conclude, calls for school resumption from both sides of the divide in the on-going Anglophone Crisis may just be another project doomed to fail, if the atmospheres in the communities and schools are not made conducive for living and learning to take place.

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