The landscape of Mogadishu, Somalia’s once war-torn capital, has changed. Two years ago, the armed hardline group al-Shabab controlled much of the city, and open warfare raged between their members and African Union (AMISOM) troops.
The were largely ousted from the city in August 2011, which marked an end to hostilities in the city. Since then, investment has led to development, and a relative sense of normality has returned to the city.
The environment is now “post-conflict”, but an insurgency is still being fought across the city, with regular blasts and assassinations. Last Sunday, a series of coordinated bombings and shootings claimed by al-Shabab killed at least 30 people in the capital. Although the group has officially left Mogadishu, it still remains a potent threat, inspiring fear and insecurity.
The pace of development has been matched by the growth of a fleet of private, armed security officers who now stand guard outside hotels and restaurants.
African Union forces still patrol the city, but are devolving many of their tasks to the Somali National Police. At the same time, AMISOM are training the Somali National Army (SNA), who are now taking a more prominent role in combat operations outside of the city, as well as maintaining security in the capital.