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Somali children play football on Mogadishu streets as city hosts high-level summit

Friday February 3, 2023

By Mohammed Dhaysane

MOGADISHU, Somalia Somali children came out Wednesday in the nation’s capital to play football on the streets as the city hosted a high-level security summit with Ethiopian, Kenyan and Djibouti leaders.

All major roads, including the biggest and busiest street, Makkah al-Mukarama, were closed and children seized the chance to enjoy football.

Mu’aad Mohamed Ali, 13, told Anadolu he went to his madarasa, or Islamic school, early to attend Qur’an class before he joined his friends in football on Liberia street in Mogadishu’s Waberi neighborhood.

“We knew that there will be a chance and space to play. We take this kind of chance every time the roads are closed,” he said.

Abdinasir Hassan, 10, also joined the match.

“It is our day, I would be very happy if the roads were close until Friday,” he said.

Adults joined the children after pictures of the boys playing football were shared on social media.

“I wish we could have had two cars and bajaaj - free days in Mogadishu every week - Just to breath out and walk,” Kassim Gabowduale wrote on Twitter.

Abdiwahab Mohamed described the children playing football on the streets as “a fantastic idea” but the opportunity cost of such a decision is quite high.

He said people in Mogadishu rely on cars and bajajs, or auto-rickshaws, for their livelihoods.

Fadumo Abdi, a Mogadishu resident, expressed happiness seeing children enjoying football on the streets.

She said, her 5-year-old son wanted to join but “he is too young to send him alone,” she told Anadolu.

She praised security forces for allowing the children to have fun and experience activities under the shed of buildings and on the streets.


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