Bruised by war, Mogadishu slowly reawakens
By Abdi Sheikh
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Their life's belongings piled on donkeys, Somali families weave along alleys filled with the corpses of starved animals to return to their bullet-ridden homes.
After four years of war, Mogadishu bears the signs of a city slowly rising from the ruins of war.
Gunfire, bombs and mortars had punctured the coastal city almost everyday as Western-backed government forces and African Union troops fought an insurgency by the Islamist al Shabaab rebel group.
But earlier this month, the al Qaeda-inspired militants -- outgunned and divided -- withdrew nearly all their combatants from their bases in the capital and Somalis woke to what they say they hope will be an extended period of calm.
"I led a dog's life for the last two years," said Liban Abdulle who was forced to flee his home and shop in Abdiaziz, a once thriving Mogadishu district near the water-front.
Al Shabaab overran the neighborhood in 2008, as it did elsewhere in Mogadishu, turning it into a battlefield, digging tunnels and trenches and commandeering people's homes.
Abdulle fled to Elasha on the outskirts of Mogadishu, one of several towns where tens of thousands of displaced Somalis settled.
"I have now returned to my former home. The house was looted and destroyed. But I am happy, my cousin sent me $400 to revive my shop. Business is good and people have returned," he said. Continued...