News / Africa

Somalia National Day Celebrated in a Mogadishu Free of Al-Shabab

Women attend a ceremony marking Somalia's independence day in Mogadishu, July 1, 2012.
Women attend a ceremony marking Somalia's independence day in Mogadishu, July 1, 2012.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — For more than two decades, Mogadishu residents have marked Somalia's independence day under the threat of chaos and violence; but this year is different. Due to security gains and the return of relative stability to the Somali capital, citizens finally have something to celebrate.

For twenty-one years anarchy and humanitarian disasters have over-shadowed Somalia’s Independence Day.

The July 1 holiday commemorates the day Somalia declared independence from Italian colonizers, 52 years ago.

This year, Mogadishu residents are breathing in freedom and optimism like never before, following security gains by African Union forces and Somali government fighters against al-Shabab militants.

Ahmed Afi, who works with Direct Aid, a Kuwait-based aid agency, says this Independence Day, he has been able to visit places he could not go to the year before.

“It’s somehow different from previous celebration, because now we are celebrating under more peaceful environment, we have access to markets, to main roads and streets, we can move around whenever we can go," he said. "We can greet our friends, families and relatives.”

Another resident, Hussein Omar, who is supervising the construction of a new hotel along Mogadishu’s Lido Beach, says this year's national day is a double celebration for him.

"The country is now independent from two groups,"  he says, "the colonists and the insurgent group. It feels like this is our actual first independence day."

At the same time last year al-Shabab still controlled some pockets of the city and launched daily attacks against AU troops and Somali government forces.

Now, the al-Qaida linked group has been weakened militarily and financially, and African forces are preparing to move against the group’s last stronghold, the coastal city of Kismayo.

For Afi, the hope for continued peace and stability depends on the country’s future political leaders.

“I and other Somalis today their future depends on the upcoming elections and its results in August 2012," said Afi. "If we will have a good leadership from August we expect to reach the next celebration of July 1st with prosperity, progress and development.”

Somalia has until August 20 to elect a new parliament and president in accordance with a United Nations-backed plan to end a 12 year political transition.

If they are successful, Somalia will have yet another reason to celebrate.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid