Gabon: Autocrat Insurance

Once again French paratroopers came to Léon Mba's rescue. Steel-helmeted paras sent in quickly by Charles de Gaulle had saved the Gabonese President's skin only two months ago, when his 400-man army pulled a predawn coup and replaced him briefly with Op position Leader Jean-Hilaire Aubame (TIME, Feb. 28). In putting down that rising, the French troopers killed 27 Gabonese soldiers, then spirited Aubame off to an island just outside the port capital of Libreville, decided to stay on in the former French colony to keep an eye on things. Back in power, Mba and his advisers felt it...

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