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Life in the Somali capital Mogadishu is slowly returning to normal following the withdrawal of the militant group, al-Shabaab. The transional federal troops allied to the African Union-led peacekeeping (AMISOM) forces have seemingly succeeded in keeping the Islamist fighters at bay, at least for now.
A spot check by Somalia Report indicated that government functionaries have restarted their operations as the TFG troops continue to take control of the usually volatile, bullet-ridden city.
Most families are retreating back to their homes, after decades of living in agony and deprivation as internally-displaced persons (IDPs) due to the long standing inter-clan fighting in the Horn of African country.
New markets are sprouting up around and the city streets are being rehabilitated for the first time since Somalia got embroiled in the endless civil strife in 1990s.
Abdi Hussein, a kiosk owner at Mogadishu's main street of Maka al-Mukarama, says the Somali capital is suddenly experiencing a sigh of relief after two decades of conflict and street fighting.
He said, "I'm receiving a good number of customers as people can walk any time of the day through into the night. I can say this is my new life after eight years of living in agony."
Renovation works on the old buildings aimed at giving a facelift to Mogadishu has also started in earnest.
Walking on the streets of the war-wrecked Somali capital, one could easily find men and women clearing the rubble and cleaning up the pathways. People now talk freely,as they hold public debates on open grounds. This, analysts say, would be unheard of in the recent past.
To many, Mogadishu has literally been a battlefield. Before the recent withdrawal of the militant group al-Shabaab, the city residents lived in fear of reprisal attacks as the Islamist fighters continuously launched deadly assaults over the African Union-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials and areas under their control.
"Nowadays, I leave for Hawlwadaag district early in the morning to work and I am able to come back home in the afternoon. That would have been a nightmare during the time of the al-Shabaab," Yahye Nur, a 23-year-old trader told Somalia Report.
Residents say they are co-operating with both the police and local administration to ensure tight security.