Nigerian and Cameroonian officials met Thursday but no clues have yet been found to the attack that killed 21 Cameroonian soldiers in the Bakassi peninsula Tuesday.
The meeting was held in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja under the auspices of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, set up by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to peacefully resolve the Bakassi dispute.
Speaking with journalists after the session, leader of the Nigerian delegation, Bola Ajibola, repeated the Nigerian government’s earlier statement that its troops were not responsible for the attack.
“The Nigerian government is conducting investigations into the killings. There is no truth in the rumors that there have been reprisal killings of Nigerian soldiers as a result of the attack,” said Ajibola, a former Nigerian Justice Minister and Attorney-General.
He said the Nigerian government was ready to completely hand over the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon, adding that the Nigerian civil and police administrations would be pulled out by the end of 2007, in accordance with the Greentree Agreement signed in New York 12 June 2006.
In the agreement, Nigeria recognized Cameroon’s sovereignty over the territory, in accordance with a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002, and agreed to withdraw its forces and administration.
Nigerian troops were withdrawn from Bakassi 24 August 2006, paving the way for the implementation of other aspects of the agreement.
Also speaking at the Abuja session, head of the Cameroonian delegation, Amadou Ali, noted that the assailants had taken advantage of the navigational facilities offered to the population of Bakassi to open fire on the unsuspecting soldiers.
He said the Cameroonian government was also investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Ali further disclosed that his government was executing major projects in Bakassi, including free health care, equipment of schools and supply of electricity and water, in an effort to resettle the indigenes.