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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
First ship arrives in Mogadishu
Beach at El Maan, north of Mogadishu
Until now, ships have had to use natural harbours
A ship has docked at the main port in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, for the first time in more than 10 years.

Hundreds of people went to the port to see the ship, which arrived from Kenya carrying goods such as TVs and coffee.

A BBC correspondent in Mogadishu says people expect the newly reopened port to lead to cheaper and more widely available goods in the city.

The port was officially reopened on Thursday by the Islamists who control Mogadishu after 15 years of civil war.

Workers have spent weeks clearing away debris blocking access to the port.

Mogadishu businessmen say five more ships are expected to arrive in the coming days.


For the past decade, ships have been using natural harbours, where goods have to be unloaded by porters wading out to sea and carrying everything on their backs.

Mogadishu's port used to be one of the busiest in East Africa, before the conflict led to its closure.


The port and international airport have been closed since United Nations and US troops ended their operations in the city as it descended into chaos in the mid-1990s following the collapse of central government.

In the past two years, piracy has become a major problem in Somalia's waters - even ships delivering food aid have been targeted.

Sailors are now advised to keep well clear of the coast when sailing in the region.

The Union of Islamic Courts reunified the city for the first time since 1991 earlier this year and say they are committed to getting the shattered country working again.

They also control much of southern Somalia.

Regular commercial flights, to the United Arab Emirates, resumed last month for the first time since the closure of the airport.

The Islamic courts are opposed by the transitional government of Somalia, which is based in the town of Baidoa.

East African diplomats have been trying to bring the Islamists and the government together for talks.


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