After Three Years of School Closure, Anglophone Bishops in Cameroon Demand Reopening

The need to provide a future for children through education is the focus of an open letter of the Anglophone Bishops in Cameroon who are concerned that for three years, schools in their region have remained closed. 

“We cannot take children hostage, compromise their future and use them for political exploits,” the Bishops state in their open letter dated August 23. 

“All men of whatever race, condition or age, in virtue of their dignity as human persons, have the inalienable right to education (Gravissimum Educationis),” the Church leaders of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province in Cameroon have reiterated. 

The two English speaking regions of the country have been paralyzed since 2016, after a strike action of lawyers and teachers turned violent.

The violent conflict resulted in the growth of an armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia.


“We have decided to address an open letter to all stakeholders in this matter of education of children,” reads the letter sent to ACI Africa.

“We make one more appeal to them for understanding and to act for the good of our children,” the Bishops have stated.

The bishops’ statement came at the end of their 67th ordinary meeting in Bamenda which reflected on various issues affecting the pastoral life of the church in these regions.

The Anglophone bishops have expressed their concern that the situation might get worse saying, “There is no guarantee that there will be an acceptable solution to all parties in the near future that will enable everyone to accept that schools should resume.”

Separatist’s fighters also known as “Amba boys” have been involved in violent confrontations with the military. 

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Schools have been burnt down while parents and teachers who have tried to brave the odds have been violently attacked.

“We strongly appeal to the “Amba boys” not to disturb parents who want to send their children to school, teachers who are ready to teach, and the children themselves,” the Bishops have stated.

The Anglophone bishops also implored the “Amba boys” to desist from all acts of violence saying “we call on them not carry out any acts of violence against those who are for school reopening.”

Focusing their attention to parents in the affected areas, the Bishops appealed to “all parents to endeavor to bring their children to school and also defend them and their institutions where and when necessary against anyone who tries to disturb their children’s education.”

Turning to the government, the Bishops have called for “more vigilance over its military” and urged the latter “to stay as far away from schools as possible” and “to respect human lives, especially the lives of children.”


The bishops advised the Anglophone diaspora that has been fuelling the actions of the “Amba boys” to review its strategy on the struggle, which should not include children not going to school.

Expressing the awareness of possible influences from outside the country, the Bishops called the living “abroad not to be influencing and encouraging in any way the “Amba boys” to disturb the attendance of schools.” 

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.