Africa: Soldiers on the March

For two months the small West African country of Dahomey had been racked by a three-way tug of war among rival politicians. The tugging ended abruptly one morning late last month when a burly general in a French paratroop uniform with a chest full of medals led his 1,000-man army into the commercial capital of Cotonou. "I am taking over," declared General Christophe Soglo, 56, "because of the incapacity of the politicians to govern." With that, he dissolved the government and declared himself chief of state.

Trends form fast in Africa,...

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