DOUALA, Cameroon — Gunmen killed at least six children and badly wounded about eight others when they opened fire in a school in the city of Kumba in Cameroon’s Southwest region on Saturday, officials told Reuters.
The officials blamed the attack on secessionist insurgents who are seeking to form a breakaway state in Cameroon’s English-speaking west, though Reuters was unable to immediately confirm that.
“They attacked around noon. They found the children in class and they opened fire on them,” Ali Anougou, an official from Kumba, told Reuters.
Many of the injured students had jumped from second-story windows in an attempt to escape.
Videos circulating on social media filmed by local journalists showed adults rushing from the school with children in their arms, surrounded by a crowd of wailing onlookers.
A local education official, Ahhim Abanaw Obase, confirmed the death toll and said that eight children were taken to hospital. He said the dead children ranged in age from 12 to 14.
Anglophone secessionists have imposed curfews and closed schools as part of their protest against the country’s French-speaking government and its perceived marginalization of the English-speaking minority.
Last year, officials blamed separatists for kidnapping dozens of schoolchildren, charges the separatists denied.