Nigeria: Search for a Sterile Scalpel

More versatile with their press releases than they have yet been with their guns, the commanders of Major General Yakubu Gowon's federal army of Nigeria shrugged off the recent loss of their country's Midwestern Region. The unexpected victory of the rebel Biafrans from the east was only "a temporary setback." When the Biafrans penetrated the Western Region as far as the crossroads town of Ore last week, Gowon's spokesmen called it "the last desperate move of the rebels before their total collapse."

Gowon himself knew better. Desperately he recalled 600 troops from...

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