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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The first tourist in Mogadishu after 20 years, officials think he's either mad or a spy

Streets of Mogadishu today. Image: Sahelblog.wordpress.com
41 year old Canadian Mike Spencer Bown sold his business in Indonesia years ago and since then he have travelled to 160 countries. He had yet to tick Somalia off his list. And he took a flight to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Somalia has been devastated by a brutal civil conflict for almost 20 years. Therefore, when Bown entered into the Mogadishu airport immigration check and described himself as a tourist, the officials couldn't believe their ears. According to the Agence France Presse (AFP) report they thought "Bown was either mad or a spy". 

Militia patrolling the streets of Mogadishu. Image: IANSA.org
As Wikitravel.org states, "Mogadishu is regarded as the most lawless and dangerous city on Earth. It is not safe for leisure or tourism. If you are planning a visit for international aid work, etc, you will need expert advice and planning". Also a place where no foreigner can survive very long without heavy protection, but Bown said he had hoped to see Somalia’s beaches and landscapes.

“They tried four times to put me back on the plane to get rid of me but I shouted and played tricks until the plane left without me,” told Bown to the AFP reporter. Bown explained he knew the risk and he already travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mike Spencer Bown
Mike Spencer Bown's
Facebook profile picture.
Bown stayed two days at a heavily-guarded hotel. After he left Mogadishu he posted on his Facebook page pictures of himself in Mogadishu holding an assault rifle or a rocket-propelled grenade. 

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