WARNING: There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping, throughout Somalia, including Somaliland. Terrorist groups have made threats against westerners and those working for western organisations. It is believed that there is a constant threat of terrorist attack in Mogadishu.The city is also remains in great danger of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks carried out by extremists who manage to get past the security checkpoints around the city. Walking the streets of Mogadishu remains very dangerous, even with armed guards. Tourists are emphatically discouraged from visiting Mogadishu for the time being, while business travelers should take extreme caution and make thorough plans for your trip. Travel outside Mogadishu remains extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Those working for aid agencies should consult the security plans/advice of your organization.
Mogadishu in 2006
Mogadishu (Somali: Muqdisho; Arabic: مقديشو Maqadīshū) is the official capital of Somalia, a major battleground of the civil war which has ravaged the country since 1991.
A devastating civil war has ruined this once beautiful city for almost twenty years now, leaving little but ruins. Since 1991, various Islamist and/or clan or warlord-affiliated militias have had control over different parts of the city. A few months of relief were given in 2006 when the Union of Islamic courts took full control. Somalia was however invaded by Ethiopia just six months later and re-instated the western-backed Transitional Federal Government. The hard-line Islamist group Al-Shabab gradually took control over Mogadishu until the government only controlled a few square blocks. A counter-offensive, supported by large amounts of African Union troops cleared the city of militants in August 2011. Bombings and shootings are still commonplace, but open warfare has, for now, ceased. A major shortage of food and thousands of refugees put enormous stress on the few government offices that are able to function.
Flights once again arrive at Aden Adde International Airport just a few kilometers southwest of city centre, facilities are very basic, but the Turkish government has put up funds to renovate the airport and its security, control tower, and navigation systems. A few passenger flights are operating.
It is possible to drive into the city by truck, but this is considered a risky activity, unless you employ a group of local militia which are readily available for hire. Roads link the city with many Somali locales and with Kenya and Ethiopia. Armed guards, hired security forces, and experienced guides are all mandatory for a safe entry. The risk of being injured, killed or captured is extremely high.
Small cargo ships regularly leave from the Old Harbour of Mombasa for Mogadishu and sometimes Kismayo. Speak with the security officers at the gate of this tiny port and they will negotiate a fare with the captain. The journey will take 2-5 days, depending on conditions. The sea is rough in July-August, requiring lengthier travel. Arriving by boat is risky, as there is the strong possibility of being attacked by pirates, though the port area is relatively secure.
Roads are a muddy mess during rain, traffic lights do not work, and there are no enforced traffic laws or public transport. The road network in Mogadishu is slowly being repaired and paved. A vehicle with driver and armed guards is a must! Break-ins at intersections are frequent, so avoid openly displaying anything that could be considered valuable. A recommendation is to hire an armored vehicle with driver and guards.
How years of urban warfare, invasions and civil warfare can drive a country into an utterly dismal state. While the city has experienced a lot of destruction over the past 20 years, small amounts of progress have been made in the city.
The Mogadishu University is a non-governmental university that is governed by the Board of Trustees and the University Council. Admission requirements for the University as listed on their website include:
Original secondary school certificate plus one copy.
Certificate of good conduct.
12 photos (6 x 4) cm.
Completed application form.
Payment of the registration fee.
Passing written and oral entrance examinations.
Benadir University was started in 2002 with the intention to train doctors but has expanded into other fields.
The Bakaara Market (Suuqa Bakaaraha) is an open market and the largest in Somalia. Created in late 1972 during the reign of Siad Barre, its original purpose was to allow proprietors to sell daily essentials. The civil war subsequently created demand for arms and ammunition. Everything from pistols to anti-aircraft weapons are being sold. Falsified documents are also readily available. Forged Somali, Ethiopian and Kenyan passports can be processed within minutes. This illicit sub-market is known as Cabdalle Shideeye after one of its first proprietors.
Most markets and especially the Bakaara Market are a focus of ongoing arms control efforts for the disarmament of Somalia. Marketplaces should be considered hazardous not only because of their content and the presence of some unsavory characters, but also because they have caught fire several times in the last few years.
Hotel Nasa-Hablod (Local script), Km 4 square, Mogadishu (2 Km from International Airport), ☎ +25261858440 (email@example.com, fax: +25262215943), . Restaurant, meeting rooms, safe box, TV, internet access, a/c.edit
Hotel Shamo, Address. Large rooms, air conditioned, wi-fi and electricity 24 hrs a day. The restaurant is extremely decent, and serves lobster when available at the fish market. The hotel is also relatively safe.From $129. edit
Sahafi Hotel, Address. One of the best hotels in Mogadishu. The manager is very helpful, the staff is attentive, and the food is good. Although the compound is probably your safest bet (if there is such a thing) in Mogadishu, a BBC producer was shot in the back and killed in front of the hotel in 2005, and two French citizens abducted by gunmen in 2009.edit
Safari Hotel, Km 4 (5 min walk from Shamo Hotel), . The hotel is situated at the heart of Mogadishu and it is easily accessible owing to its proximity to the road. In addition you get easy access to health care from the Banadir hospital which is nearby. The safest hotel to date. It has international standards of hospitality. Security has never been compromised. No bombs, kidnappings, assassinations have ever occurred in this hotel. The hotel's proximity to the Aden Ade International Airport which is just 15 minutes away makes it ideal especially if you are taking a flight that leaves early in the morning. edit
Villa Rose Guest House (Hotel), Via Sheikh Mukaram (Close to the Villa Somalia), ☎ +252619771111, . checkin: 07:00; checkout: 12:00. Best security, Escort, Restaurant, Cafeteria, Airport drop & picking up.Cable TV, Internet, Laundry, Business centre.200 USD. (Alinclsive,)edit
==Stay safe== While significant improvements have been made in the relatively short time period from August 2011 to the summer of 2012, the city remains very dangerous for independent travel. Petty theft and violent crime remains a significant threat in a city which has effectively been in a state of war for nearly two decades and full of unemployed people with few possessions. Any white person and most other foreigners are thus regarded as wealthy and a target for crime. Do not wander the streets alone for any reason!!!! If you must venture around the city, you should be accompanied by hired guards and ride in, preferably, an armored car. Smash & grab break-ins are possible in un-armored vehicles. With the security situation improved, there are likely to be new hotels opening...make sure yours has armed guards 24/7 and do not trust your valuables to be left in your room. Basic services, such as water & electricity, are not reliable and you should not drink the water. Food and bottled drinks sold in the city may or may not be safe to consume. Try to get the advice of another foreigner who has been in the city a while. Health services are limited.