Somali residents in recently liberated towns in the troubled country Sunday celebrated the country’s 52nd anniversary from Italian rule.
Mr Abdi Jinow Alasso, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia governor in charge of Middle Shabelle region, joined the residents of Balad town, 30km north of Mogadishu, in the festivities.
Celebrations at Balad town were unimaginable only a week earlier when it was an Al-Shabaab stronghold.
“I congratulate all of you for being free to celebrate important national days,” Mr Alasso told the residents.
In 2010, Al-Shabaab ordered the residents in areas under their control to refrain from celebrating non-religious landmarks.
They outlawed celebrating the Independence Day and the commemorations of national days such as the National Tree Day, National Teachers Day and the World Food Day.
“Only Idd days (at the end of Ramadan and during Al-Hajj) are allowed,” instructed the Islamist leaders.
They also ordered all broadcasters in areas under their control to stop playing music and other lyrics.
Other areas liberated from Al-Shabaab militants with the help of Ethiopian and Kenyan troops also marked the day.
Regional capitals such as Beledweyne, Baidoa and Afmadow town in Jubaland also joined the celebrations.
In Afgoye, a town seized from Al-Shabaab by pro-government forces in May, marked the independence day.
“Celebration of the 52nd anniversary in Afgoye district is a symbol of the stabilisation of security in Somalia,” said Mr Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Sidee, the TFG governor in charge of Lower Juba.
TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed graced the occasion at Villa Somalia, the state house in Mogadishu.