Cameroon's oil violence is rising

Nov 14, 2008 01:00 AM

by Carmen Gentile

Ten oil workers kidnapped in October off the coast of Cameroon were freed after weeks of being held captive by militant groups waging attacks off the coast of the Bakassi Peninsula, a highly coveted oil-producing region that earlier this year was handed over to Cameroon from neighbouring Nigeria after decades of dispute.
The seven Frenchmen, a Tunisian and two Cameroonian workers were released unharmed, though militants had threatened to kill them if Cameroon did not renegotiate the status of Bakassi.

Militant leader Ebi Dari, who has been connected to both the Niger Delta Defence and Security Council and the Bakassi Freedom Fighters, has demanded that the region be given greater autonomy from Cameroon.
Some militants have even suggested the region gain its independence from the West African nation.

Militant groups based in neighbouring Nigeria and roaming the Gulf of Guinea off both the Nigerian and Cameroonian coasts have waged several attacks in recent months.
Ahead of the August 2008 handover of the Bakassi Peninsula, a battle between Cameroonian militants and military left 10 gunmen and two soldiers dead.

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