A few days ago, The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) officially handed over the country’s national stadium to the government, which they’ve occupied since 2011. The stadium in Mogadishu was captured from jihadist group Al Shabaab by AMISOM and the Somali Army during an operation to liberate the city in September 2011. Prior to AMISOM control, the stadium was a base for Al-Shabaab, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States in 2008.
The site was used for many of the group’s terror activities including public executions. All sporting activities were also banned by the hardline Islamic militants.
AMISOM and Somali officials held a handover ceremony on Tuesday, touring the war-torn stadium and inviting the nation’s youth to come and play. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo also attended the ceremony and lauded the handover as a sign of the country’s long reconstruction efforts. The festivities included a marching band with dozens of young Somalis, many with soccer balls in hand attending.
BREAKING: The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) officially handed-over Mogadishu’s main Stadium to Somali authorities. The stadium was used as a military base since Sept 2011 when Al-Shabab was dislodged from the capital. Cleaning up work has started in the stadium. pic.twitter.com/Qs3z6YmRK8
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) August 28, 2018
A big day for sportsmen and women in #Somalia as @amisomsomalia finally vacates #Mogadishu Stadium seven years after turning the facility into a military base. The facility built by China in the 1970’s is by far the biggest sporting facility in the country. pic.twitter.com/CuKFmJMv9E
— Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) August 28, 2018
The citizens of Mogadishu are spontaneously and voluntarily cleaning the Mogadishu stadium!
Credit: Abdi Dhaanto pic.twitter.com/eDOE30Bumx
— MyWorld (@KingYusufYusuff) August 28, 2018
— mwalimu Jamal Bwana (@mwalim_bwana) August 27, 2018