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Kenya releases Somali star footballer

Anadolu Agency
Friday, April 12, 2014


Sadiq Abdulqader Mohamoud wearing his former club jersey talks to a journalist at Benadir Stadium, Mogadishu


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NAIROBI – An international Somali football star who plays for a top Kenyan team has been released by Kenyan authorities after being detained for two days following a security swoop conducted in Nairobi's predominantly-Somali Eastleigh district.

"I am happy to be out. I am looking forward to go back to training," AFC Leopards striker Sadiq Abdulqadir told Anadolu Agency moments after his release.

Abdulqadir was arrested by Kenyan police on Wednesday on his way to watch a European Champions League match in his Eastleigh neighborhood.

"I was detained in two different police stations before being taken to the Kasarani Stadium," Abdulqadir recounted.

"At first it was difficult since no one seem to have known that I am an AFC Leopards footballer," he said. "But life was much easier when word went around that I was an AFC striker."
Abdulqadir was released following intervention by officials from his club.

"I was so happy when [the club's] management, players, and even fans came to my rescue today," said the soft-spoken footballer.

An international player, Abdulqadir has been with the AFC Leopards for only one year. He became an instant celebrity in Kenya, however, after appearing on a local television program that highlighted his achievements.

Following a recent spate of terrorist attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenyan authorities have launched a wide-ranging operation aimed at restoring public security.

The operation has seen thousands of people detained for screening, mostly thought to be Muslims from Nairobi's Eastleigh district, which is home to nearly 50,000 Somali refugees.

On Wednesday, Kenyan authorities deported 82 Somalis amid criticisms that the refugees had been deported against their will.

Kenya is home to more than half a million Somali refugees, many of whom fled their troubled country following the 1991 ouster of President Siad Barre.

Kenya has remained in a state of high alert since last September's Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, in which 67 people were killed. That attack was later claimed by Somalia's Al-Shabaab militant group.

The group has threatened to continue staging attacks in Kenya until Kenyan troops are withdrawn from Somalia, where they have been deployed since 2011.



 





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