Congo Republic: To Burn, to Bury or to Hang?

It was a performance worthy of Fidel Castro after the Bay of Pigs. The room in Brazzaville's presidential palace was crowded with reporters and armed militia youths. Handcuffed to a chair was a terrified prisoner of war. Behind a table piled high with machine guns, hand grenades, plastic bombs, pistols and ammunition, stood President Alphonse Massamba-Debat, the picture of triumphant rage. "A commando group of 32 men landed at Brazzaville on the night of July 14," he announced. "Their mission was to assassinate your government leaders."

Where had they come from? Leopoldville,...

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