April 28, 2007
After intense combat that killed more than 1,000 people, insurgents melted back into the broken city, and hundreds of families began to return home.
The transitional Somali government claimed victory, saying that its troops had vanquished the insurgency and that peace and prosperity were just around the corner. “The fighting in Mogadishu is over,” said Abdikarim Farah, Somalia’s ambassador to Ethiopia, at a news conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“Mogadishu was once called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” he said. “God willing, it will come to deserve that name again.”
On Friday, though, the city hardly looked like a pearl. Bodies covered with flies littered the streets, and many buildings were still smoking. Looters picked through the Coca-Cola factory, where a year’s supply of sugar was stolen.
In the past month the people of Mogadishu have endured some of the heaviest combat ever fought in the city, which like the rest of Somalia has gone 16 years without a functioning government.