A perfect beach for football – and executions

In the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, there’s a beach that looks like a perfect place to play a gentle game of football and relax. 

It’s beside the bright blue Indian Ocean, with white sands and gently breaking waves. But this beautiful spot has a dark side. 

Here, on this beach, people are sometimes brought to be executed.

Executions are carried out by the security forces. They tie people to tall concrete posts, cover their heads with black hoods and then shoot them. 

This happens to people who are found guilty of serious crimes, including being part of terror groups like al-Shabaab, or soldiers who have committed some wrongdoing. 

Last year, at least 25 people were executed here.

Near this beach, there’s a small area where about 50 families live and see these executions taking place. 

A mother, Fartun Mohammed Ismail, said her five sons rush to the beach after school to play. They even use the posts for their football games. 

But she worries because they play where the executions happen, and the area isn’t cleaned up afterwards. Blood is left in the sand.

The executions usually happen early in the morning, and although only journalists are officially invited, nobody stops the locals from watching. 

This beach was chosen back in 1975 by the then-president Siad Barre for its visibility to locals.

Parents worry about their kids being there during an execution or being affected by the violence. 

But despite the grim purpose of this place, it’s still a popular spot for kids and young people from around the city. 

They come to play football, swim and hang out, without fully realising – or perhaps choosing to overlook – the dark events that happen there.

Compiled by staff writer

Pictured above: Playing football on the beach. 

Image source: Stock


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