Sunday, June 13, 2010
Mogadishu, Somalia (APA) - slamist militants of the Hezbal Islam rebel group have killed two football fans and arrested ten others after attacking a house where fans were watching the World Cup game between Argentina and Nigeria in the Huruwaa neighborhood north-east of the capital Mogadishu on Saturday.
Residents say that heavily armed militants stormed a house where football fans were secretly watching the match, which has been prohibited in the Islamist-controlled regions in Somalia.
“Two young men who tried to jump over the wall were shot and killed while ten others including my husband and my teenage son were taken to Islamist custody in the village” Halima Ahmed, a mother of five children said in a telephone interview with APA on Sunday morning.
Islamist militia leader Sheikh Mohamed Abu Abdalla said that those in custody have broken the law and will be dealt with in accordance with Islamic law.
Prior to the World Cup opening, the Islamists in Somalia warned people against watching the matches, saying that it was not compatible with Islamic law and that those founding watching football will be brought before Islamic courts.
“Football descended from the old Christian cultures and our Islamic administration will never allow watching it. We are giving our last warning to the people,” Sheikh Abu Yahya Al Iraqi said, while addressing crowds in the Suqa Holaha village north of Mogadishu, hours before the World Cup kick off on Friday.
The president of the Somali Football Federation Said Mahmoud Nur who was reached for comment while in South Africa, declined to comment on the matter because of security reasons.
Meanwhile, residents in the southern Jubba regions have sent a complaint letter to the Al Shabab administration in the regions demanding permission to watch the world’s largest sporting event.
Reports say that representatives from the community including elders went to the Al Shabab administrative office in the southern port town of Kismayo Saturday requesting permission to watch the World Cup, but they were denied and told that they will be arrested if they ever again come with such demands.
In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union who were then controlling most of Somalia banned watching the World Cup, describing football as a “satanic act” and as a result, two football fans were also killed and scores arrested in the city of Dhusamareeb in central Somalia when heavily armed militants raided a cinema where they were watching a World Cup game.