Somalis slowly return to ruined homes in capital

By the Associated Press | September 9, 2011 | 4:40 AM EDT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Abdinur Isse stepped gingerly over the bat droppings, pushed aside the bushes and walked into his burnt-out home. He's just one of thousands of Somalis flooding into long-abandoned neighborhoods after Islamist rebels pulled out of the capital last month.

The U.N. refugee agency says around 6,200 people had returned to Mogadishu in August. That reverses a trend for past five years where more than half of the capital's residents fled because of fighting. Some returnees are families drawn by the presence of international aid agencies in the capital, fleeing a spreading famine in the interior of the country.

But many are former residents, coming back to see what they can rebuild from the ruins of their lives now fighting in the capital has decreased.