Two key separatist leaders, for the first time in four years, on Tuesday called for school reopening in Cameroon’s two restive English-speaking regions after years of boycott.
“School boycott is no longer a weapon of our struggle for independence. Thus, where possible Ambazonia forces (armed separatists) should allow education and even encourage schools going,” Mark Bareta, one of the separatist leaders who spearheaded the boycott, said in a tweet.
“Weighing on the convictions of parents to ascertain the security guarantees of their children, I’m unapologetically asking all Ambazonia fighters and activists join me in the crusade to allow school resumption,” another separatist leader, Eric Tataw, added in a tweet.
Separatist leaders enforced a school boycott in the troubled regions since 2016 to protest against what they described as educational injustices against English-speakers.
The four-year school boycott has left more than 800,000 children out of school, according to the UN children’s fund UNICEF.
In 2017, separatist fighters began clashing with government forces in a bid to establish an independent nation they call “Ambazonia” in the two Anglophone regions of largely French-speaking Cameroon.
The new school year in Cameroon will begin on Oct. 5.