"Mogadishu residents are now enjoying the freedom to view the World Cup without fear of punishment by the ousted militant group whose influence has declined in much of the south and centre of this Horn of Africa nation."
Mogadishu (Somalia), June 12 - Residents of Somalia capital Mogadishu are frantically doing last minute shopping to be able to enjoy the 2014 FIFA World Cup that kicks off in Brazil Thursday night.
Hundreds of shoppers flocked to the main Bakara market to buy TV sets, satellite dishes and receivers Wednesday to view the 2014 World Cup for the first time since the ouster of the radical Islamist group Al Shabaab in late 2011, reports Xinhua.
The Al Qaeda-linked militant group controlled much of Mogadishu and other parts of south-central Somalia before they were driven out by Somali government forces backed by troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Yahya Ali, 28, a resident of Hodan district of Mogadishu said his family had been making sacrifices for years to be able to buy the necessary equipment to see international sporting events like the World Cup in Brazil this year.
We are really pleased that we are ready for the event and my family will be able to join world sports lovers in watching the opening ceremony and the game between Croatia and host country Brazil, Ali said as he carried the equipment he bought to his home.
Mogadishu has been witnessing relative stability since the Islamist rebels fled the city in the face of a major government and AMISOM offensive almost three years ago.
Much of the city has been re-populated after thousands of people who were displaced by the fighting returned and rebuilt their homes. Business has also picked up as returning Somalis from the diaspora began investing in various ventures including hotels, restaurants and general merchandise.
During their control of parts of Mogadishu and other main cities in the south and centre of Somalia, Al Shabaab militants banned the viewing of international football tournaments, listening to music and wearing western clothes in areas under their control.
Mogadishu residents are now enjoying the freedom to view the World Cup without fear of punishment by the ousted militant group whose influence has declined in much of the south and centre of this Horn of Africa nation.
I am pleased that we can watch the World Cup without fear. We will enjoy watching the beautiful game being played. I hope we will be able to see the cup come to Africa this time, Maryan Ulosow, a mother of three, said in Mogadishu.