African Union troops to vacate Somalia’s Mogadishu stadium
The Somali Football Federation’s campaign to win back their national stadium in Mogadishu, which is currently being occupied by African Union troops, took a step nearer realisation last Friday when the country’s president announced the stadium would be vacated.
Hassan Sheik Mohamud, made the announcement on Somali television but did not give an exact date when the troops will move camp, but said it will be soon. The Somali FA has been pressurising politicians and military authorities to release the stadium back to the federation since 2012.
“The Somali government and the African Union Peace keeping Mission in
Somalia [AMISOM], have agreed that the AU troops must leave from Stadium
Mogadishu. The troops will soon leave it,” said Mohamud.
The Somali federation has been pressing the government and military authorities for a removal of the troops since 2012 with FA president Abdiqani Said Arab even meeting with the AMISOM commander at Stadium Mogadishu.
In May the Somalian Federation hosted the president at a match in Stadium Banadir where Abdiqani Said Arab again pushed for the withdrawals of AU forces from the facility.
“Hopes are now arising as our president of the republic of Somalia finally made the announcement that AU troops will soon leave the stadium. We are really very much pleased to hear that and on behalf of Somali football family, I commend our president for his commitment to football,” he said.
Stadium Mogadishu was built by the Chinese government for Somalia in 1978, but
changed hands several times when the country fell into anarchy in 1991. In 1993
it was used by American forces in Somalia and then by Pakistani troops.
After the United Nations withdrew from Somalia in 1995, the Stadium was returned to the Somali FA. But between 2007-2009 it was housing Ethiopian troops who came to help Somali government defeat the once powerful Islamic Union.
By the end of January 2009, it fell into the hands of Al Shabab militants who occupied it until after they fled from the capital in August 2011.
From that date until now the stadium has been used by AMISOM troops as a camp.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]