Another fire guts 40-year old GBHS Fontem

Government inability to locate and eventually punish perpetrators of arson on public and private buildings in the last one year has seemingly heightened the criminal desire to inflict more drudgery on populations of the Southwest and Northwest Regions.

The latest in the series of incendiary occurrences is that which has just been visited on the administrative block of Government Bilingual High School, GBHS Fontem, rendering the edifice useless by burning to ashes most documents that had been carefully stored therein. This unfortunate incident has come barely a few months after a previous fire had wreaked havoc on the Francophone section of the school.

The Principal’s, Vice Principals’, Bursar’s, Discipline Master’s offices, including the Principal’s Secretariat were all reduced to ashes by the unfortunate inferno that occurred during the early hours of Saturday, November 24.

According to the Principal, Nyilua Zinkeng Alexander, he has not been able to immediately estimate the loss incurred from the damage. He has however, affirmed that only the destroyed roof can be estimated at over FCFA 10,000,000. He said lessons were timidly resuming in his school when the sadist arsonists executed the unpardonable act. He noted that the only thing recovered from his office were some certificates which were kept in a safe.

The arsonists did not end at burning the school; they also dropped warning notes against school resumption in the campuses of GBHS and Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College Fomtem. One of the notes read:

“Students and teachers are hereby advised to immediately stop schooling and teaching and wait for the appropriate time to be given by the Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. Failure to do so, you will face the consequences, I repeat, you will face the consequences. Those of you in the dormitories, we give you 48 hours to pack and go home safely. Note: no amount of La Republique forces will protect you from our action if you don’t respect this note. We love you and want the best educational system for you and not this one of La Republique… Parents take note!!! Beware and be warned!!!

The Vipers in collaboration with the ADF (Ambazonia Defence Forces)’’

The perpetrators of this act have equally named names, warned certain individuals in the community engaged in sensitization relating to schools resumption.

There was also a failed attempt to burn one of the cars belonging to the gendarmerie. It was parked right in front of the Gendarmerie office.

A day before these dastardly acts, the Bishop of Mamfe and native of Lebialem, Andrew Fuanya Nkea had sensitized the population on the importance and need for them to send their children to school during a Holy Mass service.

“I was in the US, and had the opportunity to celebrate Mass with those clamouring for schools boycott. I told them that if they were serious, they should withdraw their own children from school in solidarity with those at home,” the Bishop recalled.

He advised the people of Lebialem that, failing to send their children to school, is failing to prepare a brighter future for them and they will end up doing the most menial jobs.

Some inhabitants of Menji have been quick to conclude that, the arsonists are not indigenes. According to Denis Lekeateh, a Menji denizen, he is very convinced that the forces of law and order are not all ignorant of what is happening.

This is happening when schools were timidly reopening in Lebialem Division, after long struggles by the administration and some elite. Parents, according to the SDO, Zachariah Unghitoh had promised their children were all going to return to school yesterday Monday, November 27, 2017. The SDO regretted that the 40-year old school has been reduced to point zero, given that all records have been destroyed.

Following accusing fingers at the forces of law and order in Menji by inhabitants, the SDO has told them to prove their innocence by investigating, arresting and presenting suspects of such mischievous acts for legal proceedings to be engaged.

By Nester Asonganyi

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