Mogadishu rebuilds slowly, five years after major al-Shabaab fighting

Islamic Extremism

Five years after Somalia’s former president declared Mogadishu free from al-Shabaab, the terrorist organization continues to strike in and outside Mogadishu.

CCTV Africa’s Clementine Logan reports.

Although they’ve made some progress, the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) and government forces are still struggling to secure the city.

In August 2011, following vicious gun battles, the militants had reportedly fled overnight. Then president Sheikh Sharif Ahmed declared Mogadishu free from the terrorist organization.

Back then relentless fighting had left the city in ruins, hampering aid efforts to a country already battling widespread famine. More than 3 million people were in need of emergency assistance.

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Previously confined to pockets of the capital, the U.N.-backed government could now establish itself in Mogadishu and begin rebuilding the city, attracting foreign investment and the return of diplomatic missions.

In January last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the opening ceremony of Mogadishu’s International Airport and the Somalia-Turkey Education and Research Hospital.

Four months later, John Kerry became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Mogadishu. And in June this year, Stephen Schwartz became the first American ambassador to Somalia in 25 years — a landmark moment in relations between the two countries.

But al-Shabaab has always described its withdrawal from Mogadishu as a “change of military tactics”, and has vowed to fight on. To date, the city has remained a target for suicide bombings and attacks.

Just last month more than a dozen people were killed in a twin car bomb blasts near the airport.