NPR: Frank Langfitt visited the capital, Mogadishu, and talked to residents about how they cope.
FRANK LANGFITT: Abdi Fatah Ali Hassan sleeps in his shoes. Given his address, he has to. A high school economics teacher, Ali Hassan lives on the front lines here, which means mortars hit his neighborhood all the time.
: We are ready to run. All our things are ready. I and my shoes, we are sleeping together.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
LANGFITT: Mogadishu is mostly lawless. Over the last four months, Ali Hassan says clan militias in his neighborhood have robbed him of $700 - that's more than half his annual salary as a teacher.
: (Through Translator) I hate being robbed but we cause some of the problem ourselves. These militias are from the same clan we belong to. So it's a problem created by the community.
LANGFITT: But to get to the bee farm, she must take a mini-bus through a checkpoint controlled by Islamist rebels called al-Shabab.
: (Through Translator) It's not safe to go there, but I have no alternative. If I had another alternative, I would not do this job because it's dangerous. Sometimes they steal your money.
LANGFITT: And she says, late one afternoon, they killed a fellow passenger.
: (Through Translator) They shot a man because he did not participate in afternoon prayers.
LANGFITT: Abdullahi Hassan is a businessman who sells sugar, flour and building materials. He helps finance a moderate Islamist militia that is battling al-Shabab.
: Actually, they know me. I'm one of the targets.
LANGFITT: Hassan travels around town with six or seven armed guards. Have they tried to kill you?
: Many times. The last attack, they hit our car, but luckily, I survived it, but another three has been killed.
LANGFITT: How did they hit the car? What did they do?
: With the (unintelligible), they call RPG7.
LANGFITT: That's a rocket-propelled grenade. Fartuun Abdisalan Adan lives near a trash-strewn roundabout. It's well inside the government lines, but she says nowhere is safe. A couple of weeks ago, a woman tossed a grenade in a market there, killing a handful of street kids.
: Every morning, it is scary. You are thinking, okay, this - today, we have survived, how about tomorrow?
LANGFITT: Adan runs the Elman Peace & Human Rights Center. It's a nongovernmental organization that, among other things, teaches teenage boys electrical and mechanical skills. Adan wants them to find jobs so they don't join militias or al-Shabab. Every morning, she must check to make sure boys from al-Shabab don't slip into her training sessions.
: We wanted to help them, but at the same time, we are afraid.
LANGFITT: Do you have to frisk the kids when they come in?
LANGFITT: Because you are afraid they might have a bomb?
LANGFITT: Adan returns home by 4:00 each afternoon for safety. She describes herself as middle class. Evenings are more worldly than you might expect.
: We have electricity. We have a TV. We have Internet. We have everything. You can watch every channels in Mogadishu.
LANGFITT: Tell me, in the last week, what did you see that would surprise me?
: I watch Oprah.
LANGFITT: As in Winfrey.
: I watch the BBC News.
LANGFITT: Adan buys her electricity and water from private companies. She bought a satellite dish for $150. Adan returned to Mogadishu a few years ago after living in Canada. As difficult as life is here, she has no plans to leave.
: I want to stay as much as I can. We committed this work, we're doing it, and we wanted to make a difference.
LANGFITT: Frank Langfitt, NPR News.
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