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Life in present day Somalia

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Hello all,


I'm someone who has followed events in Somalia since 1991 (after the fall of Siad Barre) with keen interest, even though I'm not actually Somalian. Partly it's because I'm interested in how societies and individuals organise themselves in the absence of government.


The trouble is, it's very hard getting an idea how day-to-day life is in Somalia - all you hear about in the news is about the conference in Kenya, or sporadic fighting between warlords, or links between Somalia and terrorism. But I'm not really interested in this - I'm more interested in how people are making a living in Somalia. I realise that in effect, what used to be Somalia has been split into roughly three territories - Somaliland, Puntland and the rest of Somalia, so just to clarify, the questions I'm going to ask concern 'the rest of Somalia'.


1. What's the security situation like? Do people in towns form civil defence groups to protect themselves against armed gangs? Are there community recognised courts that deal with disputes between people? What about the countryside? Is there any sign that the various factions are getting tired of fighting each other - is the fighting less that at the beginning of the 1990's?


2. What's the role of Islamic groups and societies in present day Somalia? Are they largely replacing the government in providing much of the amenities needed by the populace, like health and education?


3. How do businessmen operate? Do they have to organise their own security? Is it still difficult for foreigners to do business in Somalia? I heard recently that parts of Somalia have mobile telephony and the Internet. If this is true, how do they protect the infrastructure against damage? Also, someone from Puntland was telling me several months ago that some private companies supply electricity to homes - what they do is to assess how many appliances you have, then based on that they charge a flat fee. Does this happen in places in the rest of Somalia as well?


I tried posting this in the 'General' section of the board, but I got no answers there, so I'm hoping that my post here will yield more responses. Thanks in advance for any answers.



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