Since the militants of the Young Mujahedeen Movement left the Somali capital, Mogadishu, few days ago, government forces continue to deploy their troops in the sites formerly occupied by the movement preparing the safe return of residents to their homes. These residents who are fleeing the tough life they endured as longtime refugees.
Destroyed buildings and remnants of the late war are the scenery in Mogadishu that seems to be in its worst state since the beginning of the civil war.
Mogadishu’s Bakaraa market, once the most important militia stronghold, also had its share of destruction.
All the shops and telecom buildings are empty, standing as witnesses to the Bakaraa market in its darkest days; this market is the biggest commercial center in Somalia and probably in the whole Horn of Africa.
After the Somali government announced that it had fully handed over security of Bakaraa Market to special police forces, some merchants arrived to the market to check on their shops. This man considers himself lucky for finding his shop had survived shells and destruction.
Abd Al-Rahman Fareh, an electronics salesman, fled his shop one day, leaving everything behind.
"I thank God who protected my shop from destruction and looting. I came back and found all my belongings just as I left them. What I am looking forward to is seeing people returning to their shops so that we can resume our trading activity." said Mr. Fareh
Abdullah Harbi who is also a salesperson at Mogadishu tells us his thoughts on the market place. "I used to work in this shop behind me. A while ago, business was suspended for security reasons but today I had the possibility to arrive to my shop and I hope that things get better."
The Somali government reinforced security measures in the areas surrounding the market while preventing its forces from entering out of fear of looting. Furthermore, the execution of two soldiers guilty of looting in the market by the military court yesterday strengthened the confidence of merchants to return to the market.
Mogadishu’s fall in the hands of the Somali government does not mean the end of the war in the capital. In fact, the young mujahedeen movement declared that it is changing its fighting tactics in its war against the government and the African forces. This situation raises the fears of the residents from returning to the times of bombs and assassination.
Adaptation: Stanela Khalil
Original Report: Abdel Rahman Bukhari
Voice: Nadia Idriss Mayen
Abd Al-Rahman Fareh, an electronics salesman
Abdullah Harbi , salesperson