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Mohamud faces an uphill task unifying a fractious country in the face of the al Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgency and rebuilding a bombed-out infrastructure, food security and institutions. Another challenge is fighting endemic corruption that plagued previous governments.

Many of al-Shabab’s troops are reported to have fled into northern Somalia over the last year following their pullout from Mogadishu in August 2010 in the face of an African Union onslaught. Fighters are flocking to Kismayo, the last major city al-Shabab controls.

Al-Shabab militants, though evicted from Mogadishu, still penetrate the seaside capital to carry out suicide attacks. One such attack took place last month as Somali elders voted in a new internationally backed constitution that guarantees more rights for women and children. The bombers were stopped at the gates and no one except the two attackers was killed.