, MOGADISHU, Nov 7 – Hundreds of Mogadishu residents last week took to the beaches for the first time in three years in a dramatic display of a new found sense of security following the ejection of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists from the city.
The revellers, who included former President, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, converged on the scenic Lido beach on Friday where they enjoyed a game of football and took a dip in the waters.
Ever since the Somali National Army, with the support of the African Union Mission in Somalia, forced the extremists’ retreat in August, the capital has been experiencing something of a resurgence. Roads are being repaired, homes rebuilt and markets reopened.
Real estate prices along Via Moscow have doubled and there are people out in the streets late into the night, despite the ongoing threat of terrorist attack.
Following a successful operation to secure parts the vast outlying district of Deynile, hundreds of thousands of people in the Afgoye corridor who had previously been prevented by the extremists from returning to their homes in the city are now streaming back.
Traffic at the Aden Abdulleh International Airport has also tripled and the line of ships waiting to dock at the seaport grows ever longer.
The city has played host to several high profile visitors, including Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, and a number of countries have reopened their embassies.
However, as the city reawakens, it is also experiencing problems common to other capitals around the world.
Traffic jams along the busy streets are a perennial headache and crime rates are up, according to Mayor Mohammed Nur “Tarsan.”
The AMISOM Police Component is helping to train the Somali police force, now numbering over 5,000 to manage these challenges and the AU has appealed to the UN Security Council for help in deploying formed up police units to aid the effort.
Last week, the city’s business community presented a gift of 30 animals to AMISOM in appreciation of the Mission’s effort in helping secure the capital.