MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News) – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has officially handed the Mogadishu Stadium to the Somali government after seven years of occupation.
In a handing over ceremony held in the stadium, AMISOM officials confirmed that they vacated the sports complex which was used as a military base by the UPDF since their units Battle Group VII and VIII captured in Sept 2011 when Al-Shabab was dislodged from the capital.
Speaking at the ceremony Brigadier Gen Lokech of UPDF-AMISOM said the stadium was essential in pacifying Mogadishu.
Somali government officials including the country’s sports Minister, Khadija Mohamed Diriye who attended the event welcomed the move saying the facility will be used to support Somalia’s youth and sporting communities.
Cleaning up work has started in the stadium as the government deployed police officers to guard the facility.
The complex consists of a large football arena, a track-and-field athletics ground, indoor basketball and volleyball grounds and facilities for other sports activities.
The peacekeepers started vacating the complex earlier this month, following a request from the Somali government in July.
On Monday during a pre-handover inspection tour of the stadium President Farmajo thanked the African countries that have contributed troops to Amisom for their role in stabilising Somalia and in the fight against the jihadist group Al-Shabaab.