People gathered in a local basketball stadium where government officials announced that all illegal checkpoints manned by “freelance gunmen” have been dismantled by security forces following a week security drive.
The move comes after Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed last week ordered officials in Mogadishu to remove the checkpoints where gunmen dressed in government military uniform extort money from residents.
Thousands of Mogadishu residents gathered at the rally carrying banners and placards in support of the government measures to improve the security of the capital Mogadishu.
“On behalf of the Commissioners of the seventeen districts in Mogadishu I announce that there is no longer any illegal checkpoint in Mogadishu. Since the checkpoints have been removed we want all other remaining obstacles be lifted from Mogadishu,”
Abdulahi Hussein Fanah, Mogadishu administration official told the rally.
The Somali government said nearly 60 illegal checkpoints were removed from a number of key street junctions and in various neighborhoods in the capital Mogadishu where security has been improving since the ouster of rebels last year.
Local artists performed traditional folk dance as residents celebrated the government move to further stabilize Mogadishu which has been relatively secure since Al-Shabaab rebels withdrew last year.