Biafra: Come on Down and Get Killed

By day, Sāo Tome Island drowses in tropic torpor. Toward evening, however, the diminutive Portuguese colony off West Africa's underbelly in the Gulf of Guinea suddenly rouses. Along its single airport's runway can be seen a motley squadron of DC-6s, a C-46, a Super Constellation, and lately bigger but nonetheless obsolete C-97 stratofreighters, wheezing into readiness. Trucks dash up, hauling crates of food and medicines. Eventually, crews as varied as their airplanes — Swedes, Finns, Americans, a stolid Yorkshireman, a not so dour Scot — screech up in cars and climb aboard. One by one, at 20-minute intervals, the...

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