BUEA, CAMEROON, AFRICA. NOVEMBER 2010 (NEWS.CAMEROON-TODAY.COM) The Bakassi peninsula is being continually targeted by pirates for attack on oil boats.

Pirates who were armed launched an attack on a ship that was carrying oil in one of the latest incidents off the coast of Cameroon. In a separate incident a raid was also launched on a ship that is owned by Belgians.

In the first incident five people lost their lives as men who were carrying weapons including guns attacked the ship just a little off the Bakassi Peninsula which carries a vast resource of oil.

Gerard Mestrallet at World Economic Forum
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A French based oil firm claims ownership for the ship that was attacked and stated to the press that the boat was carrying their men who were supposed to act as security for one of their oil rigs when the pirates launched an attack on the boat as gunmen fired shots at the boat killing five of their men.

As more and more incidents come into light the Gulf of guinea is becoming a target for numerous pirate and bandit attacks as well as numerous abductions of employees working in various oil rigs and platforms in the region.

In many of the incidents where men are abducted the captors demand huge sums as ransom stating that the sum that they take as ransom would be used for rehabilitating and compensating the residents of Nigeria who were rendered homeless and nameless as Bakassi was given over to Cameroon. In fact there are many militant organizations that are active in this belt causing apprehension to oil rig employees and boats that traverse this region regularly.

In separate incidents there have been attacks that have taken many innocent lives of people from foreign lands which have been in their region just for the sake of work. The oil rick Bakassi peninsula in itself has seen many suck attacks that have involved nit just loss of lives but also much abduction and kidnappings where huge sums are being taken as ransom.

Though the governments of the respective countries as well as the embassies of the countries of which these foreigners originally come from try to negotiate most of these attempts are in vain. This has made it highly apprehensive and life threatening for oil companies to transport men or goods in this region.

The incident, which is currently being investigated, tragically led to the deaths of five Cameroonian personnel,” Perenco said in a statement.

The latest incident consisted on five men three of who were soldiers, one an airman and the third a mechanic who were killed during the wee hours of the day on Wednesday.

These numerous incidents of bandit attacks and abduction begin in early 2008 when Nigeria handed over the Bakassi peninsula which has got rich resources of oil to Cameroon. Most of these bandits belong to organizations that are originally from Nigeria and many such organizations have owned up to their involvement in these militant activities.

Cameroon Limbe - Home to SONARA, Cameroon Oil Refinery
Cameroon Limbe – Home to SONARA, Cameroon Oil Refinery

The UN’s International Court of Justice had pronounced a verdict in 2002 that put a firm close to a 15 year long argument between the two countries Nigeria and Cameroon to Cameroon regarding who should invariably own the oil rich territory. Bakassi is a peninsula that goes right into the Gulf of Guinea, and the reason for this is that this oil rich territory is home to almost 10% of the world’s oil and gas reserves.

However since most of the incidents involve foreign nationals the series of attacks that have become almost a regular affair in and around the Bakassi Peninsula as well as in other parts of the Gulf of Guinea is posing serious concerns to the Government of Cameroon in terms of their security measures.

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