Saturday, August 12, 2006

Nigeria, Cameroon and Bakassi

With the elections in my native Congo, I have yet again neglected the other African News (I really do need to have someone cober other countries, in a progressive way. If you know of anyone, let me know). But interesting and crucial things have been happening. Rebellions in Ethiopia are gaining in strength, and tensions in the horn of Africa are brewing. Sudan is trying to get along better with Chad. And then there is this:
Nigeria withdraws from oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula: "Abuja - Nigeria began withdrawal of its 3,000-troops from the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula lying at the maritime border between it and Cameroon Friday.

Military commander Major General Steve Guar said the withdrawal would end next Monday, rather than the Tuesday date that was earlier scheduled.

Guar said all non-essential personnel of the Nigerian military had already been moved out to enable his men to meet the Monday deadline of official handing over of the area to Cameroon.

As part of the exercise, the 26 Battalion headquarters of the Nigerian Army, located at Boro Camp in Bakassi, was shut Friday and troops withdrawn to Ikan village, near Calabar, in Nigeria.

He said the Boro camp would be left intact for use by the local people.

Symbolic of the withdrawal was the withdrawal of Nigeria's national flag and that of the Nigerian Army from the area Friday.

Bakassi Peninsula covers a total of 3,072 square kilometres and was ceded to Cameroon by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in October 2002, when it ruled that Nigeria should vacate the area, while Cameroon cede part of the border between the two countries to the north to Nigeria.

Nigeria defence headquarters had declared last Tuesday that the country's withdrawal from Bakassi peninsula would begin Monda"
This is just historic, because it will be a test of Africa's maturity. I believe it is a bit... antiquated, to still think overbearingly in terms of nation-states. But we deal with what we have, right? The fact that there is a secessionist group that is trying to declare the independance of Bakassi is worrying me. I wonder how it will all go...

1 comment:

Kurt Wayne said...

Ali,

Now's as good of a time as any to ask this question: as an outside observer, even with all the tumult in the old Belgian Congo/free state, haven't the D.R.C.'s boundaries been pretty much the same since colonial days?

I look at African colonial maps on the Web...Algeria and French West Africa seemed a mess on boundaries. Egypt and Sudan, two old british colonies (ancient before the english settled them, obviously) still have some significant boundary disputes at their southern line. Cameroon and the Republic of Congo appeared to share land at one point.

But in every such map I've seen the Belgian Congo boundaries seem to have stayed constant...amazing to me given the size of the country and the methods involved of settling it. Is that my imagination?

(BTW, the one geographic boundary which seems to significant is that with Angola and the DRC. Inga dam isn't that far from the Angolan border. Conversely, oil-rich Cabinda is separated by 40 miles of DRC coastline from the Angolan mainland (the far northwestern boundary of which is the mouth of the Congo, shared by the DRC.

A country can dominate another with a superior naval force. If the DRC was united I'd think they would have a superior military to Angola, save for the navy of the latter country, which has a vaster coast and, (I should think) a proportionately similar navy.

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