Somalia's soldiers patrol in Afgooye, some 30 kilometers south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on October 19, 2016. (AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB)
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In Somalia's Raqayle village, life under al-Shabaab Islamists can be brutal, with public beheadings, and bizarre -- with edicts about wearing socks -- but locals feel safer than when the government controlled the area and violently ousted them.More than 70 villagers fled to nearby Afgoye town in 2014 when a dozen government soldiers and policemen forced them off a 128-acre farm, which was claimed by an exile returning from Britain.Similar stories can be heard across south-central Somalia, where better security is encouraging wealthy exiles who fled in the 1990s to return home -- often igniting fresh land conflicts.Osman said conflict can arise when returnees start rebuilding on land which others have lived on for decades.In Raqayle, the returning exile belongs to a more powerful clan than the villagers, said Ubdi Omar Wallin, founder of the charity Women in Action Against Malnutrition (WAAMO), which took the land dispute to court.The land lay idle after the government militia took over, carrying out regular patrols.
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