|Up went the Cameroonian flag over the Bakassi Peninsula on Wednesday, to the dismay of separatists and irredentists.|
Nigeria had been administering the peninsula since independence when, in 2002, the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) ruled that the territory would belong to Cameroon. Both sides had agreed to abide by the I.C.J. decision, whatever it might be, and in 2006 Nigeria ceded the peninsula, angering nationalists. The issue lay dormant until last year, when a 10-year period during which Nigeria could contest the decision came was nearing its close (developments which were covered extensively in this blog). Nationalist critics of Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, cried “capitulation,” members of the Efik ethnic group, which straddles the border, demanded that displaced Efiks in Nigeria be allowed to resettle in the peninsula, and Efik nationalists on both sides of the border called for an independent state which would revive the Efiks’ precolonial Calabar Kingdom.
|The Calabar Kingdom is still a functioning ceremonial monarchy,|
though the Nigerian–Cameroonian border bisects its traditional lands
But a 2012 declaration of independence by the Republic of Bakassi, though it involved only a radio-station tower on a tiny island off the peninsula’s coast, invited brutal reprisals by the Cameroonian military—not only against the Bakassian separatists but against Ambazonian/Ambazanian separatists more generally.
|Separatists in Cameroon wave the flag of Ambazonia|
[You can read more about Bakassi, Ambazonia, and many other separatist and new-nation movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar. The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this interview for more information on the book.]