Boiling hot, the temperature is nearly 42 C. A hot wind is carrying clouds of dust. Annoying buzzing of flies. Wherever I look, I see a terrifying sight of charred ruins of houses destroyed by artillery and bombing raids. Until 1991 those buildings were banks, hotels You can see holes made by bullets in every wall. All around there are rubbish dumps with their striking stink. The few passers-by demonstrate distinct mistrust towards a stranger. A two-wheeled donkey wagonette is slowly moving in the street full of holes; here and there, people huddle under walls. In one corner some optimism is cast by a jacaranda tree blooming in purple.
The sense of depression is difficult to shake off. I only saw such sea of human misery in Kabul - the city which can shock each and every stranger. I am now in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, a ghost country not recognised by the UNO. Ministries of foreign affairs of many countries strongly advise people not to travel to this Corner of Africa, for whatever reason and in whatever character, and they refuse to assume responsibility for what their citizens may encounter in this dangerous region. My journalist trip is an attempt to get to know this country which has not seen visitors for years now. Inhabited by nearly two million of lost and living through a nightmare people, Mogadishu is in the hands of leaders of six clans, each of them having their private police armies and frequently clashing in real battles.(...)
As soon as I meet my guide, he asks me: "How much will you pay me for the interview?". "How much will you pay me for publishing it?", I replied. "I will guarantee you'll survive in my territory", he added in a more friendly manner. Crime is blooming in the city. Nearly everyone has firearms. For example, you could buy an AK-47 "made in Russia" for as little as 120 dollars, which is much less than at the famous Smuggler's Bazaar in the Pakistani town of Darra. No single day passes without murder, pillage, rape or kidnapping. A young local surgeon got back his freedom last week - people from his clan had to pay 4 thousand dollars for him.