Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai: 'I asked Macron to invest $300 million in girls' education'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Burma should give access to investigators, says UN human rights chief

Read more

FOCUS

Rohingya crisis: Monks with an ultranationalist agenda

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

French Senate: retirement club for old politicians?

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Mexico hit by another deadly earthquake

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US Federal Reserve ends historic QE program

Read more

ENCORE!

This week’s not-to-miss exhibitions

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Rogues aplenty at UN General Assembly

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Mexico City’s earthquake, Catalonia’s independence struggle and Senegal’s charcoal-making women

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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

2017-09-15 Middle East

Video: How the Haredim, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, make their own rules

In Israel, the Haredim community (or "Those in awe of God") lives separately from the rest of Israeli society. Dressed all in black, these ultra-Orthodox practise a strict form...

Read more

2017-09-07 DR Congo

In DR Congo, karate helps rape victims rebuild their lives

For the past three years, Frenchwoman Laurence Fischer, a three-time world karate champion, has travelled to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to help female victims of...

Read more

2017-09-01 Japan

Video: Returning home to Fukushima

On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, in 1986. Just like in the Soviet Union,...

Read more

2017-08-23 Africa

Video: The fight for survival in drought-hit Somaliland

Since the beginning of this year, Somaliland, an autonomous territory in the Horn of Africa, has been ravaged by severe drought. As eighty percent of the region’s livestock has...

Read more

2017-07-28 Middle East

Video: The plight of Cairo's street children

In Egypt, tens of thousands of children wander the streets of the capital, Cairo. They survive as best they can amid desperate poverty and violence. Some NGOs, such as France's...

Read more