Suspected Anglophone separatist rebels attacked a school in the Limbe area of the South West Region on Wednesday, November 4, assaulting a number of staff and students and setting fire to the building. Around 20 gunmen are reported to have stormed Kulu Memorial College on the outskirts of the coastal town at around 08:00 (local time) and attacked staff and students after forcing them out of the school. Several buildings were also severely damaged after being set alight, but the attackers fled before security forces reached the scene of the incident. It is currently unclear whether any people were kidnapped in the incident.
Security operations are likely to continue in the Limbe area in the near term as Rapid Intervention Batallion forces respond to the incident and search for the attackers, with associated localized disruptions likely in the area.
The attack in Limbe is the third on schools in Cameroon's western Anglophone region in a little over a week after at least seven children were killed in an assault on a school in the Kumba area of the South West Region on October 24 and 11 teachers kidnapped from another in the North West Region city of Kumbo on Tuesday, November 3. Anglophone separatist rebels have repeatedly threatened schools in the region where lessons have continued to be taught in French. However, recent weeks have seen an increase in threats and attacks against educational institutions in the region after schools were permitted to reopen at the beginning of October following their closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Tensions between Cameroon's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities remain high in the Northwest and Southwest regions, where a separatist movement has transformed into a low-level armed insurgency. The situation has deteriorated considerably since September 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations estimates that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict, with more than 675,000 others believed to have been internally displaced.
Those in Cameroon's Anglophone region are advised to maintain a heightened level of vigilance due to the high risk of violence between separatists and the government forces. Monitor local media for the latest updates on the security situation and adhere to any directives issued by local authorities or security forces, including curfews.
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