Sunday 28 October 2012

The armed men of Mogadishu

The Somali capital Mogadishu is full of armed men. Some are African Union troops (mainly Ugandan and Burundian), some are government security forces, some are Turkish military, some look like Westerners (usually around the airport area - they do not wear uniforms), some appear to be private militias or bodyguards, and some are simply civilians with guns slung over their shoulders (who told me they would be mad to give up their weapons because they don't trust any of the 'official' security forces such as the AU troops or government soldiers). Here are some photos I took of people with weapons:

AMISOM patrols the streets
Ugandan AMISOM troops
I don't know whether this man was a government soldier, militia man or random armed person
The following photos were taken in one of the many camps for the displaced in the city. It seemed every previously open space in Mogadishu was full of people living in igloo shaped tents patched together from cloth, plastic, cardboard and tin. 

The next lot of photos were taken in Hodan district, Bakara market and other places in Mogadishu.

These photos were taken on a trip to the beach, to the south of Mogadishu:

And this final one was taken in a mosque:

Monday 8 October 2012

The goats of Mogadishu

On a recent trip to Mogadishu, I noticed that the only living things that seemed to be truly at ease in the city were the goats. The humans were generally nervous and jittery (not surprising given the pops of gunfire, suicide bomb scares, and grenade throwing). The cows looked lost. The donkeys confused - I saw one careering round and round a roundabout, madly circling in the dust.

But the goats seemed to be having a good time. It was if the city belonged to them, as they tripped about the smashed buildings, chewing on leaves, plastic, cloth and paper. Someone told me they have even learned to take cover when required, scampering behind bits of concrete or sandbags when bullets start to fly.

 Most of the goats looked relaxed and well fed
This goat lived in the smashed up old post office in Hodan district, a former stronghold of Al Shabaab
I met these goats relaxing on the steps of the National Theatre, near The Village restaurant which was recently attacked by suicide bombers

These goats were passing the day in Bakara Market, Mogadishu's main commercial district

Siesta on the steps