Taking to Twitter Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Holy Father invoked the comfort that only God can give.
His words: “I unite myself to the pain of the families of the students barbarically killed in Kumba, Cameroon. May God enlighten hearts, so that similar acts may never be repeated! I send my affection to the families and all Cameroon, and I invoke the comfort that only God can give.”
At the end of his weekly General Audience this Wednesday, Pope Francis remembered the seven young students murdered by gunmen in Kumba last Saturday, October 24, and the 12 others injured.
“I join in the grief of the families of the young students brutally killed last Saturday in Kumba, Cameroon,” Pope Francis expressed: “I feel a great dismay at such a cruel and senseless act, which tore life from the innocent little ones while they were taking lessons at school.”
“May God enlighten the hearts,” he prayed, “so that similar actions are never repeated again and so that the tormented North West and South West regions of Cameroon can finally find peace!”
The Holy Father also expressed his hope that “the weapons are silenced and that the safety of all and the right of each young person to education and to a future can be guaranteed.”
To “all the families, to the city of Kumba and to all of Cameroon,” Pope Francis invoked “the comfort that only God can give.”
Around noon on Saturday, gunmen attacked Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Fiango, Kumba. State authorities say they opened fire on no fewer than 19 students, killed at least six (five girls and a boy), and badly wounded about 13 others – ten girls and three boys.
The students killed include 11-year-old Victory Camibon Ngameni, 12-year-old Anamgim Jenifer, 12-year-old Ngemone Princess, Che Telma Nchangnwi, 9-year-old Zakame Rema, Chema Syndi, and 12-year-old Renny Ngwane who died in hospital Sunday morning.
The Divisional Officer for Kumba I, Ali Anougu, the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme Division, Chamberlain Ntou’ou Ndong, and the Minister of Communication, Emmanuel Rene Sadi blame armed separatists for the attack.
On Monday evening, President Paul Biya addressed his solidarity and sincere condolences to the bereaved families as well as the educational community. He joined his wishes and the deepest empathy of his wife for the prompt recovery of the injured.
The same wishes were extended to the victims, their families, and the population by Territorial Administration Minister Paul Atanga Nji who was at the head of an inter-ministerial delegation dispatched to Kumba by President Biya.
Bishop Agapitus Nfon of the Kumba Diocese said a mass will be held on October 30 in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Kumba to pray for the victims and their families.
State forces have been battling to dislodge armed separatists who pitched their tents in the North West and South West Regions since the current crisis transformed into an armed conflict in 2017.
Corporate demands by Common Law Lawyers and Anglophone Teachers led to protests in November 2016. The street demonstrations later morphed into ongoing running gun battles between state forces and armed separatist fighters in the predominantly English-speaking regions, leading to untold destruction of human lives, their habitats, and livelihoods.
Tit-for-tat killings have become part of daily lives in some parts of the English-speaking regions.