August 27, 2012 |
MOGADISHU, Somalia - In the years to come, Ahmed Jama will be seen either as a visionary or a lunatic who squandered his money on a crazy dream. That crazy dream? To bring tourists to his hotel on the shores of one of the world's prettiest beaches - which just happens to be on the edge of a city known for more than 20 years as the world's most dangerous place. Mogadishu. In his dream, there won't be half a dozen guards with guns on the back of an SUV for most foreign visitors, like now. And the haunting memories of ruthless warlords, crippling famine and terrifying armed children will have faded.
August 20, 2012 |
MOGADISHU, Somalia - As Somalia approaches its umpteenth attempt to forge a government that will actually stick, there's a deadening familiarity here: bloodstained warlords reemerging, clan elders manipulating politics, roadblocks going up as militias try to reclaim turf. And yet a year of relative peace in Mogadishu, long the world capital of chaos, and the recent adoption of a new constitution have raised faint hopes that this latest stab at shedding the "failed state" label might actually work.
August 9, 2012 |
MOGADISHU, Somalia - They came to the stadium in late afternoon, a sprinkle of rain mixing with their sweat as they pounded around the rough sand track. This is Mogadishu and the stadium bears the scars of war, but the gray sky could have been golden. In every runner's heart, it was as if there were another presence in the stadium, running with them: Mo Farah, the first Mogadishu-born athlete to take Olympic gold, in the 10,000-meter final in London. Although Farah, 29, won for the British team, to everyone in this city, he's a Somali.
July 16, 2012 |
Ships are staffing their decks with armed guards. Government navies are out in force scouring the waters. The increased watchfulness is starting to wash away the grip held by maritime pirates, especially Somali ones, over the high seas. Piracy dove 54% in the first half of the year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a unit of the International Chamber of Commerce. From January to June, pirates around the world attacked ships 177 times, down from 266 assaults during the same period last year.
July 13, 2012 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya is the biggest in the world, a sprawl of nearly half a million people, some of whom have lived there for about two decades. Residents who fled famine and warfare in Somalia have now seen grandchildren born and raised in what was supposed to have been a temporary home. They have also seen predators and criminal groups flourish, and watched as recruiters lure bored and frustrated boys back to Somalia to serve in militias or pirate gangs.
January 7, 2012 |
A Navy destroyer rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea only days after Tehran warned the United States to keep its ships out of the nearby Persian Gulf. Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer Kidd boarded the Iranian dhow Thursday and detained 15 Somalis after one of the fishermen was able to reveal in a radio communication that his vessel's crew was being held captive. Seeing a publicity windfall at a time of growing tension with Iran, Pentagon public affairs officers quickly swung into action, setting up a conference call for reporters with Navy commanders in the region.
November 18, 2011 |
In the month since Kenya invaded southern Somalia, one government official has urged negotiations with Al Qaeda-linked militants the army is attacking there. Another ruled out talks. A spokesman said the incursion was months in the planning. The army commander said the decision took just days. There is greater accord among officials that the country's first foreign war in its nearly 50-year history is likely to be a long slog, and among critics that Operation Linda Nchi, or Protect the Nation, is a risky venture of more value to the U.S. than to Kenya.
November 11, 2011 |
When his parents were killed in a rocket attack, the only person to show a lonely Somali boy named Abdi any kindness, or say a caring word, was a family friend named Abdufazil. The man bought him meat and camel milk. Then he sent the 13-year-old to a training camp to become a suicide bomber. Abdufazil was a commander of the militant Islamist militia Shabab in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, and he told the boy that Christians had killed his parents. He and other Shabab fighters urged him to take revenge for the attack.
November 4, 2011 |
In Nairobi's "Little Mogadishu" neighborhood, paranoia drifts in the air, mingling with cooking smells and the stink of open drains. "I'm living in a world of fear," says Ahmed Ali Ibrahim, a tall, skinny 35-year-old Somali refugee with a shrapnel scar under his skull cap. "I can't walk about freely. " Ibrahim says he fled his homeland for Kenya, seeking safety after being wounded last year in a grenade attack on African Union peacekeepers by the Shabab, the Somali militant group linked to Al Qaeda.