Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

"Todos somos Americanos"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Sydney siege: Australians show solidarity with Muslims

Read more

ENCORE!

"Charlie's Country" director Rolf de Heer on the contemporary Aboriginal condition

Read more

FOCUS

Hunt for Joseph Kony and LRA militants continues

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

‘China needs Tibetan culture of peace,’ says Dalai Lama

Read more

FACE-OFF

Immigration in France: Hollande slams scaremongers

Read more

ENCORE!

'Charlie's Country' director Rolf de Heer on the contemporary Aboriginal condition

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Egypt: Gay community fears government crackdown

Read more

DEBATE

Taliban school massacre: At least 140 dead in Peshawar assault (part 2)

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2012-08-28

Mogadishu: Life after the Shabaab

It's now a year since the al Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents pulled out of Mogadishu in a "tactical retreat". The Somali capital is coming back to life and attracting investors once again. Our reporters Stéphanie Braquehais and Duncan Woodside went to Mogadishu to find out about life after the Shabaab.

With each passing day, the Somali capital continues to transform. New cars and other vehicles are back on the streets. Pedestrians and small kiosks line the pavements. Buildings obliterated by ferocious fighting sit alongside newly-painted shops.

The feeling of hope is perceptible among the population, and many Somalis from the diaspora are returning home to invest and reclaim family property bought before the civil war. We met Liban Egel, who has spent most of his life in Baltimore, in the US, where he ran a string of small businesses. Eager for new challenges, he swapped Baltimore for his childhood home, returning to Mogadishu in 2010 to create a bank. Since the fall of long-time ruler Siad Barré in 1991, Somalia has had an informal money-transfer system based on mutual trust, called hawala, but which is not internationally recognised.

Liban knows he faces momentous challenges ahead to succeed in a country that has been ravaged by 20 years of civil war. The lack of any formal legislation means electronic money transfers are impossible. But he has other ideas, such as transferring funds by mobile phone or wireless internet.

Along with economic opportunities, religious freedom has returned to Mogadishu with the departure of the Shabaab. However, thousands of people remain displaced by last year’s famine; others squat in public buildings that belonged to the state before 1991. “We have nothing; some days we eat; others, we go without”, says Fatima, a mother of five children.

The police are woefully under-equipped and assassinations have surged this year, with a record number of journalists killed. Politicians and businessmen are also vulnerable, and the killers invariably go unpunished.

In a police station in the Hodan district, there is only one vehicle, its windscreen partly shattered by a bullet hole.

"The police are a target”, admits Major Ali Mohamed Salal. “All those who work for the government are targets.”

He admits he has only recently received part of his salary, after nothing for eight months. He remains philosophical: "I was born one day, I'm going to die one day, I am only afraid of Allah.”

But not everyone can have the same determination.

The Somali transitional government, plagued by corruption allegations, has just finished its mandate. A new constitution has been approved, based on federalism and Sharia law. But it will take more than a written document and new institutions to reconcile a population that has lived through so many years of bitter civil war.

By Stéphanie Braquehais , Duncan WOODSIDE

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-02-14 Cameroon

Central African Republic and the 'convoy of hope'

Despite the presence of French troops and an African Union-led peacekeeping force, the situation in the Central African Republic remains extremely volatile. Clashes between the...

Read more

2014-12-12 China

China: An 'Africatown' in Guangzhou

With twelve million inhabitants, Guangzhou, in southern China, is the third largest city after Shanghai and Beijing. Like the rest of globalised China, it attracts people from...

Read more

2014-12-05 France

Do French Jews have reason to fear?

"For the first time in 70 years, France has become a country of Jewish emigration". This is how the Chairman of France’s Central Consistory, Joël Mergui, gloomily sums up the...

Read more

2014-11-28 Lebanon

Lebanon's Shebaa, a village caught in the crossfire

It’s just another small Sunni village in southern Lebanon. But Shebaa, a Hezbollah stronghold on the crossroads of Israel and Syria, is now a flashpoint in a spreading war. With...

Read more

2014-11-21 National Front party (France)

France’s National Front in the spotlight

With the National Front on the rise in France, our reporters returned to three towns where the far-right party’s mayoral candidates won the most recent local elections.

Read more