Magazine article New Internationalist

Tiny Eye of the Hurricane [Ilois Sue to Return to Diego Garcia]

Magazine article New Internationalist

Tiny Eye of the Hurricane [Ilois Sue to Return to Diego Garcia]

Article excerpt

The US navy call it 'the rock'.

Diego Garcia is a beautiful 27-square-kilometre atoll of coral and sand - and the most important strategic US air-base in the Indian Ocean. It's been used for US bombing raids on Iraq, and in October 2001 B-52 bombers began flying from their base there to bomb Afghanistan.

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Once a British protectorate, Diego Garcia was leased for 50 years (in exchange for a $14-million discount on a missile programme) to the US to use as a military base in 1964, and the entire indigenous Ilois population was moved off the island between 1965 and 1973.

Ilois who had left were refused re-entry, Britain cut supplies to the island to 'encourage' emigration, and those that remained were forced onto ships which took them to Mauritius, 2,000 kilometres away. …

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