PtG Article 15.06.2010

Death threats for Somali football fans

Somali football fans, keen to watch the latest games from this year's World Cup in South Africa, face being publicly flogged or even executed, if caught watching games by Islamist militant groups.

According to the BBC, two people were killed by militants who stormed a house where games were shown. Ten others were arrested.

The Islamic Courts Union, which controlled much of Somalia for six months in 2006, passed a ban on watching sports in public under a strict interpretation of Sharia Law, still being enforced by militants.

"We are warning all the youth of Somalia not to dare watch these World Cup matches. It is a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down," said a spokesman for the Hizbut-Islam group, reports the BBC.

While football fans in areas held by rebels have to watch matches in secret, those in government held areas can attend public screenings in local cinemas.