Into Somalia's Zone of Death

Troops reach famine-struck Baidoa, but the looters still lurk nearby

MOGADISHU WAS A PRELIMINARY; BAIDOA WAS the real thing. Some 70 trucks, jeeps and armored vehicles carried U.S. Marines and French Foreign Legionnaires into that town, in the heart of Somalia's famine zone, last Wednesday, as helicopter gunships buzzed overhead. The show of force was meant to tell armed looters: You can't match our firepower, so get lost. So far, Somalia's gangs have shied away from any shoot-outs with the foreign troops. But armed bandits did steal some food that had been delivered under Marine guard to villages near Baidoa, after the Marines left. Gunmen have reappeared on the streets of...

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