Yaounde - Cameroon took full sovereignty over the disputed
territory of Bakassi on Wednesday, state radio reported, five years after an
agreement with Nigeria signalling the end of a bloody conflict over the land.
"The transitional period in the Cameroonian peninsula
of Bakassi has come to an end," said an announcement on the radio.
Nigeria formally ceded Bakassi to Cameroon on 14 August 2008,
halting 15 years of border conflict.
A UN-backed period of transition agreed by the two countries
followed to allow Cameroon to develop an administrative presence in the area.
The peninsula in the west of the country was formerly part
of South Cameroon, itself an area of Nigeria, until inhabitants voted to join
Cameroon in 1961. It has around 40 000 inhabitants, including many Nigerian
Nigerians living in the peninsula will now have to apply for
a visa or apply for Cameroonian citizenship, and Cameroonians will have to
register with the tax authorities.
In October 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled
that Bakassi was part of Cameroon, not Nigeria.
Cameroon originally took its claim over the sovereignty of
the potentially oil and gas rich peninsula to the court in 1994.
The area is a prime target for Nigerian pirates due to its
proximity to the unstable Niger delta region, where attacks and kidnappings are
In 2009, the Cameroon government stepped up its fight
against the pirates by deploying an elite army unit to Bakassi, and by later
establishing five military bases there.