Bakara Market in August of 2011 (Pete Heinlein, VOA)
Sunday, May 20, 2012
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. 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.