AFRICA: Dropping in on Djibouti

On a world map the Territory of the Afars and Issas resembles a wart on the Horn of Africa. In reality, it is not much more attractive. Most of its 9,000 square miles (roughly the size of New Hampshire) is desert, a desolate mixture of searing sand, thorny scrub and boulder-strewn hills. Its estimated population of 200,000 is split between two unharmonious tribes, the nomadic Afars and the more industrious Issas, and about 90% of the inhabitants are illiterate. Djibouti, the territory's capital and only city of any size, has some of...

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