Press Release

UN shocked and outraged over horrific attack on school in Cameroon

26 October 2020

The United Nations has strongly condemned Saturday’s attack on a school in southwestern Cameroon, which claimed the lives of eight children, and wounded another twelve.

On 24 October, a group of armed men attacked Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba, in Cameroon’s restive South-West region. According to local reports, the victims were aged between 12 and 14. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on Cameroonian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that those responsible are held accountable, his spokesperson said in a statement

“The attack is another disturbing reminder of the exacting heavy toll on civilians, including children, many of whom have been deprived of their right to education,” said the statement. 

“Attacks on education facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights,” it added. 

Mr. Guterres also called on all armed actors to refrain from attacks against civilians and to respect international humanitarian and international human rights law. 

He also urged the parties to answer his call for a global ceasefire, reiterating the availability of the United Nations to support an inclusive dialogue process leading to a resolution of the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon 

‘Schools must be places of safety, not death traps’ 

In a separate statement, Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms.” 

“This has been a deadly weekend for schoolchildren in Afghanistan and Cameroon,” she said, also referring to the attack on an education centre in Kabul

“I am shocked and outraged at these abominable attacks and condemn them in the strongest possible terms. Attacks on education are a grave violation of children’s rights,” Ms. Fore added, reiterating that schools must be places of safety and learning, “not death traps.” 

‘Worst atrocity’ since schools resumed 

According to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, Matthias Z. Naab, the attack is the worst atrocity since the resumption of the school year on 5 October, in which more students enrolled in the North-West and South-West regions than in recent years. Unrest in parts of Cameroon had affected school enrolment and access to education. 

“Children have a right to education. Violence against schools and innocent school children is not acceptable under any circumstances and can constitute a crime against humanity if proven in a court of law,” said Mr. Naab. 

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has provided medical supplies to the local hospital and the NGO, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) is assisting with medical supplies and personnel.  

The UN will continue to support Government and NGO efforts to provide necessary medical assistance to the wounded, added Mr. Naab. 

UNIC Yaounde Head of Office

Jean Njita

Head of Office
Siaka Coulibaly

Siaka Coulibaly

Resident Coordinator ad interim
Mr Siaka Coulibaly brings to this position over 30 years of experience as an Economist and
development practitioner in international cooperation and development, and advisory services,
working with UNDP, United Nations in West Africa and New York. Before retiring in early 2023,
he served as Resident Coordinator in Senegal. Prior to that, he served as UN Resident Coordinator
in Benin (2016-2020). Previously, he was the Deputy Resident Representative
Programme/Operations in Togo (2014-2016). He also served, as Country Advisor in UNDP
Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA, 2011-2014) – New York. Before that, he was a Team Leader of
MDG Support Team in the UNDP Regional Service Centre in Dakar -Senegal (2008-2011). Prior
to that, he worked as a National Economist and Programme Manager in UNDP Cote d’Ivoire (2000-
2005) and MDG Policy Advisor, RBA New York (2006-2008).
Before Joining the United Nations, Siaka worked for 14 years in Cote d’Ivoire as, Chief of
Cabinet in the Ministry of Planning and Development (1996-2000), Economist-Chargé de
Mission in the Prime Minister’s Office (1993-1996), Economist-Planner with the National
Bureau of Technical and Development Studies - Presidency of Republic (BNETD 1989-1993),
and Planning Specialist in the Ministry of Construction and Urbanization (1986).
Mr. Siaka holds a Master’s degree in development and economic planning from State
University of Antwerpen in Belgium – a Master’s in Public Finance and Management (1988)
from the State University of Antwerp, Belgium – et and Maitrise in Applied Economics and
Business Economics from the National University of Abidjan (1984), Côte d'Ivoire

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