Nigeria: October 10, 2002


After eight years of litigation, the International Court of Justice decided that the Bakassi Peninsula belonged to Cameroon, not Nigeria. The decision was based on a 1913 treaty between colonial powers Britain and Germany. Only about 10,000 people live in the swampy area (400 square miles) along the southeast coast of Nigeria. But the area is thought to hold several billion dollars worth of oil. Ownership was disputed for decades, and the area has long been occupied by Nigerian police and troops. In recent years there has been violence there, as Cameroonian troops and guerillas skirmished with Nigerian soldiers along the border.


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