Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, reduced to ruins by two decades of civil war, has seen a return to an uneasy peace over the last couple of years. FRANCE 24 went to meet the Somalians who are trying to rebuild their city as well as their lives.
Mention the words ‘failed state,’ and Somalia is perhaps the country which springs most readily to mind. The central government there collapsed more than 20 years ago, unleashing a period of chaos and conflict ruled by clan warlords, ethnic militias and, latterly, Islamic extremism.
But over the last couple of years, a semblance of normality has returned, at least to the capital, Mogadishu, and other urban centres. Al Shabaab – a militant group which operates as part of the al-Qaeda network – has been forced out of most major towns, thanks largely to a military intervention by the African Union and assistance from Western donors.
A new government is nearing its first birthday, raising tentative hopes that a restoration of state authority is within reach. Our reporters Duncan Woodside and Stéphanie Braquehais visited Mogadishu, where they spent time with female basketball players and the city mayor, to gain a sense of how people are adjusting to the challenges of a post-conflict environment.