News / Africa

Somali Capital Experiences Post-Shabab Building Boom

Construction workers restore a Bakara Market business destroyed in the August, 2011 fighting. (Pete Heinlein, VOA)Construction workers restore a Bakara Market business destroyed in the August, 2011 fighting. (Pete Heinlein, VOA)
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Construction workers restore a Bakara Market business destroyed in the August, 2011 fighting. (Pete Heinlein, VOA)
Construction workers restore a Bakara Market business destroyed in the August, 2011 fighting. (Pete Heinlein, VOA)
Peter Heinlein

MOGADISHU - Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, is experiencing something of a building boom.  After throwing off the shackles of al-Qaida-linked radicals, its citizens have begun carting away the rubble and repairing the damage of two decades as Africa's worst failed state. 

 

Eight months ago, Mogadishu's bombed out parliament building was a symbol of 20-years of anarchy.  Today, it is under reconstruction to house a new legislature expected to be sworn in later this year. 

The strategic K-4 intersection has been called the key to controlling the city.  The concrete plinth at the center of K-4 was bullet riddled and bare after years of al-Shabab rule.  Today it sports a fresh coat of paint and the five-pointed Somali star of unity.

Bakara Market, Mogadishu's commercial center lay in ruins last August after African Union troops broke years of al-Shabab dominance in weeks of block-by-block combat. 

 

  • Bakara Market, April, 2011. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Bakara Market, August, 2011. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Cinderblock factories are doing big business all over the city. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Bakara Market, August, 2011. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • The K4 monument, April, 2012. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Somalia's Parliament, August, 2011. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Somalia's parliament, May 2012.  (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Turkey has opened an embassy in Mogadishu and is expanding business ties with Somalia. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)
  • Even through the darkest days of al-Shabab rule, Somalia has maintained one of Africa's best internet and cellphone networks. (Pete Heinlein/VOA)

Today it is once again a bustling hub, providing jobs for enterprising workers who are busy putting the market back together.

 

And something not seen in years, diplomatic missions.  Turkey has become the first to open a new embassy in the capital.  Some United Nations agencies are back, too.

 

It will take years to restore Mogadishu's pre-war grandeur, but people on the streets say the comeback has begun.

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