MOGADISHU (Halbeeg) – Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire on Friday urged AU troops to vacate Mogadishu Stadium which is the biggest sporting facility in the county.
The continental forces have been occupying the stadium since 2011 when Alshabaab fighters were pushed out of the city.
In a statement, the PM said his government wanted AU to hand over the premises to the Somali government.
“We urge the troops occupying the the facility to vacate the stadium, to be rehabilitated and to be handed over the Ministry (for Sport),” he said.
The stadium, which once had a capacity to hold 60,000 people, is the biggest sports ground in the Horn of Africa nation.
“The largest (multipurpose) stadium of the country was Mogadishu Stadium, therefore I say before the minister for Sport that the stadium should immediately be handed over the government” PM Kheire said.
Somali Sport Bodies have severally called on AMISOM to vacate from the football facility which had been paralysed since 1991 when the Somali central collapsed.
The various groups fighting in the country’s civil war have always occupied the stadium.
After the fall of the government led by late Mohamed Siyad Barre 1990, Mogadishu Stadium was occupied by US peace-keepers.
More than a decade after US troops withdrew from Somalia, Ethiopian forces took over the facility and had been occupying it till 2009.
The stadium was subsequently occupied Alshabaab which used it for training base before the group forces out the capital.