Mogadishu residents ‘feeling safer’

Children play in celebration after attending Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in Somalia"s capital Mogadishu, July 28, 2014.Many Somalis have returned home in recent years as security has improved

Residents of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, are feeling safer and more optimistic than they were a year ago, according to a new survey.

The Heritage Institute of Policy Studies, which analysed data collected from more than 1,600 residents, said people reported a decline in violence.

However, serious concerns remain, such as attacks by Islamist group al-Shabab, and mistrust of the security services.

Somalia has been ravaged by conflict for more than two decades.

Thousands of Somalis have been returning from abroad to help rebuild the country as security has improved in recent years.

Soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) secure an area near a prison in Mogadishu on 31 August 2014The AU has some 22,000 troops battling al-Shabab militants in Somalia

Al-Shabab was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011 but still stages frequent attacks in the city and controls many rural areas.

In February, its fighters stormed Villa Somalia, a large complex which houses the presidential palace and other government institutions, killing 11 people.

The African Union has some 22,000 troops in Somalia, in support of the UN-backed government.