BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 09:35 GMT
Somali viewpoints
Life in the Somali capital remains uncertain for people living under the fragile rule of the transitional government after Islamists were ousted from Mogadishu.

BBC Arabic.com asked four Somalis about conditions in the city, how they viewed Ethiopian intervention in their country, and their hopes for the future.

SAFIA, MOGADISHU, RESEARCHER

Safia, Mogadishu

Life is harsh here because of recent events; and it's been made worse by Ethiopian interference.

Prices are rocketing, unemployment is rising and chaos prevails.

We feel afraid because there is a rampant lack of security. We see more assassinations and we hear more bombings; shops especially are being targeted.

The government has stepped up its campaign to restrict our freedom of expression. I think they want to prevent the outside world knowing what has happened in Somalia.

Of course there were big disagreements before [under the rule of the Union of Islamic Courts], but at least that came within the context of freedom of expression.

It is really terrifying here.

Everyone believes Ethiopia is only after its own interests in Somalia. I don't see any popular support for the new government.

With the worsening security and economic situation, khat [a mild stimulant] is once again openly on sale in the markets.

I think the Ethiopian forces should withdraw and new negotiations should be launched between the disputing parties.

If not, the government and the Ethiopian forces will suffer heavily, as the resistance is growing day by day.

Members of the government are afraid for their lives. They are aware that they are not popular.

They should pack up and leave. It is in everyone's best interests.

MAHMOUD ABDULLAH, MOGADISHU, CHARITY CHAIRMAN

Mahmoud, Mogadishu

I hope Ethiopia's interference will help solve our problems - even though no-one here wants or accepts Ethiopia's involvement.

The Ethiopian forces should focus on helping the transitional government build infrastructure, achieve peace and generally create a state.

The Islamic Courts radically changed things in Somalia. There was safety, peace and commerce. In other words, they brought Mogadishu back to life.

However, the Islamic Courts did not really create a state or its institutions. They created a tribal regime instead.

The Ethiopian presence is a reality we just have to accept.

What really matters is that we get peace and security.

The Islamic Courts should be allowed to return only as part of the institutions of a new government, and not on the basis of the tribal regime they adopted before they collapsed.

I think life will go on, and the Somalis will manage.

We have survived more than 15 years of worse conditions than this.

MUSTAFA EL-SOMALI, SUDAN, STUDENT

Mustafa, Sudan

It is a very precarious situation there in Mogadishu. Humanitarian conditions are getting worse, as Somalis suffer from Ethiopian interference and American bombings.

Violence breaks out and we don't know when it will finish.

I think the dispute between the Somali government and the Islamic Courts is ideological, not based on power-sharing ambitions.

Foreign interference is not new in Somalia. It's been there for a while.

The road to peace in Somalia should start by ending Ethiopian, US and Kenyan interference in Somali affairs. Somalis should take power.

The Arab League and European Union should be the ones who help the reconciliation effort.

ZAKIYA ABDULLAH, MOGADISHU, STUDENT

When the Islamic Courts were in charge, we had peace.

I could go and visit people easily, and move around without being afraid.

It's true they banned cinemas, but people didn't complain about that. There are no such restrictions on cinemas now.

However, we need to wait and see what the new interim government and Ethiopian forces will do.

I don't mind foreign intervention if it improves the situation here. Otherwise, the intervention should stop.

Life is difficult, but not as bad as it was before.

We do have a problem with freedom of movement. I hope this improves.


RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific