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Somalia: Al-Shabab Orders Closure Of Football Pitches

Somali militant group al-Shabab has reportedly ordered the closure of all privately-owned football pitches in three districts of the capital, Mogadishu.

More than 20 stadiums in Karaan, Yaqshid and Heliwaa districts are believed to have compiled with the order, the BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi reports.

The demand was reportedly made at a meeting between some of the stadium managers and al-Shabab leaders in Tora Torow, Lower Shabelle Region.

Neither the government nor the managers will confirm the existence of the order but sources in Somalia say no football is currently being played in the stadiums.

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Mogadishu is controlled by the government of Somalia, but local people remain wary of the threat of al-Shabab, which is said to have many informants in the local population.

The militants are trying to impose an Islamic Caliphate in Somalia, rejecting any form of Western influence – and that includes sports and entertainment.

Despite this, the group has held sporting events in the past to seek the support of the residents in the areas that they control.

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