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Panic In Buea: Principal Abandons Students, Rushes To Rescue His Child In Another School 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

The panic that rocked the Southwest Regional headquarters, Buea, and some other localities in the region on Monday, January 15, following rumours that elements of the ‘Ambazonia Defence Forces’ aka ‘The Tigers’, were in town, raised some serious questions about the repeated claims by local administrative authorities and security officials that all measures have been put in place to ensure that pupils and students are protected.

What happened on January 15 in Buea, for example, raised the question as to whether Principals of Government Colleges were ever sensitised by the authorities on what to do, in case of an attack on their schools.

The Post leant, for example, that when the Principal of one of the Government Colleges in Buea got words that ‘The Tigers’ had allegedly stormed a school and adducted some teachers, and he also saw parents rushing to take away their children from different schools, he abandoned his students in school to themselves and rushed to another school to take away his child.

A dependable source in the Ministry of Secondary Education, MINESEC, in Yaounde, told The Post that the authorities were furious when they received information that the Principal abandoned students that are under his care, when panic erupted in Buea, and instead went for his child in another school.

The Post further leant that immediately the rather embarrassing piece of information got to the authorities of MINESEC, the Special Adviser I of the minister, Paul Ebune Tiku, called the principal in question and seriously scolded him for having committed such an act.

The Special Adviser I told the principal that upon getting the rumour, the first thing he was supposed to do was to call either the commander of the nearest Gendarmerie Brigade, the Commissioner of the nearest Police Station, or the DO of Buea to check the veracity of the allegation as well as seek security advice or directives.

Ebune was reportedly disappointed the more with the principal, when upon further interrogations, he discovered that the principal did not have the contact number of any of the security officials or the administrative authorities like the DO of Buea, the commander of the Gendarmerie Brigade, or the Commissioner of the nearest Police Station.

Worse still, the Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema Esunge, also faulted the Principals of some Government Colleges in Buea, whose action, he alleged, contributed to spreading the panic on that fateful day. The mayor fumed that when some principals received the false rumour about the coming of ‘The Tigers’, they instead called parents to come and collect their children from school.

The mayor argued that the principals were supposed to have, first of all, called the local authorities to check the veracity of the allegation, and get directives on what to do next.

However, the fact that many principals did not act accordingly, the authorities of MINESEC and the Mayor of Buea have raised the question as to whether in the event of an escalation of the Anglophone Crisis, principals of Government Colleges in particular, were ever sensitised on what to do in such a situation.