At the weekly General Audience yesterday 27th October, Pope Francis prayed for peace in conflict-ridden parts of Cameroon, in the wake of a school shooting in Kumba which claimed the lives of several school children.

The Holy Father expressed sorrow over the tragic murders of at least six students by unidentified gunmen in Kumba, southwest Cameroon, over the weekend.

“I share in the suffering of the families of the young students barbarically killed last Saturday in Kumba, in Cameroon,” the Pope said. “I feel great bewilderment at such a cruel and senseless act, which tore the young innocents from life while they were attending lessons at school.”

“May God enlighten hearts, so that similar gestures may never be repeated again,” Pope Francis added.

Turning his thoughts towards the long-running socio-political conflict in Cameroon, the Pope prayed that “the tormented regions of the north-West and south-West of the country may finally find peace.”

“I hope that the weapons will be silenced and that the safety of all and the right of every young person to education and the future can be guaranteed,” he said.

The Pope also expressed his nearness to the families, the city of Kumba and the whole of Cameroon, invoking upon them “the comfort that only God can give.”

Since 2016, parts of Cameroon have been gripped by unrest since Anglophone groups began to call for their independence.

Some schools in Cameroon have only recently reopened following a four-year shutdown, as the separatists’ fight for an independent state they wish to be known as Ambazonia carries on.

Currently, authorities have not been able to identify the assailants, and neither are they able to ascertain the reason why the school was targeted.