Bakassi

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Bakassi

(bäkä`sē), peninsula, c.400 sq mi (1,000 sq km), E Cameroon, on the Cameroon-Nigeria border, at the SE end of the Gulf of Guinea. The swampy peninsula and associated small islands are strategically located, controlling access to the Nigerian port of CalabarCalabar
, city (1991 est. pop. 154,000), SE Nigeria, a port on an estuary of the Gulf of Guinea. Rubber is processed, and palm oil, cacao, rubber, and timber are exported. Calabar, an important Niger delta trading state in the 19th cent., grew as a center of the palm oil trade.
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; the surrounding waters are rich in fish and submarine oil deposits. The traditional inhabitants are mainly Efik fishermen with historical ties to Nigeria.

In 1961 the S British CameroonsCameroons,
Fr. Cameroun, Ger. Kamerun, former German colony, W Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea and extending N to Lake Chad. Germany's penetration of the area began in 1884 and by 1902 its possession was recognized.
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 (a former German colony) became part of Cameroon, while the northern portion joined Nigeria. Control of the peninsula, which was in Nigerian hands, was disputed between the two countries, and military clashes over it occurred sporadically. The dispute was brought in 1994 by Cameroon to International Court of Justice, which awarded the peninsula to Cameroon in 2002. The judgment was largely based on the 1913 Anglo-German agreement that defined the borders of those nations colonies.

A 2006 agreement established a two-year timetable for the handover of the peninsula; the inhabitants could remain as Cameroonian citizens or be resettled in Nigeria. The handover process began in Aug., 2006, when Nigeria withdrew its troops from the region, and the northern portion was transferred to Cameroon. The transfer of the region was completed in Aug., 2008. Many residents moved from Bakassi to Nigeria, both before and after the transfer was completed, and there have been clashes between Cameroonian forces and residents opposed to the handover.