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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
World Cup ban in Mogadishu denied
Mogadishu street scene
Residents are pleased Mogadishu is now experiencing a period of calm
An Islamist militia which has taken control of most of the Somali capital has denied reports it is preventing TV screenings of the football World Cup.

Residents said the militiamen had been forcing makeshift public cinemas, which had been planning to show the football matches to close down.

But Union of Islamic Courts chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said they were busier with weightier matters.

He added that this was not the time to stop people from watching the games.

Residents say they are relieved the Islamist victory has led to calm and improved security.

The militia victory over rival warlords followed weeks of fighting.

'Corrupting'

Reports suggested residents were angry at apparent moves by the militiamen now patrolling the streets to close down cinemas whose proprietors had arranged to show satellite television pictures of World Cup matches taking place in Germany.

Their spokesman, Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, indicated to the BBC it was the cinemas that were being targeted because they also showed Western and Indian films that the Islamists say are corrupting to the young.

The clan warlords to whom Washington is suspected of providing clandestine support have been thoroughly routed, but remain holed up in north Mogadishu and in the nearby town of Jowhar.

The Islamists have urged them to surrender and negotiate in order to prevent a renewal of fighting.


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