- Title: Eight years after bombing, Somalia reopens national theater
- Date: 2nd July 2020
- Summary: ***WARNING:CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF SOMALI PRESIDENT, MOHAMED ABDULLAHI STANDING WITH WOMEN IN TRADITIONAL ATTIRE
- Embargoed: 16th July 2020 12:00
- Keywords: Mogadishu President Mohammed Abdullahi independence from Italy national theatre suicide bombing by Islamist insurgents
- Location: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
- City: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
- Country: Somalia
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Theater
- Reuters ID: LVA007CL48CBB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Eight years after a suicide bomber destroyed the building, Somalia has reopened its imposing national theater in Mogadishu as a symbol of culture in the heart of a city often defined by violence.
President Mohammed Abdullahi joined a choir on stage during a ceremony to mark the official opening last week.
"We build our country if we all stand together," the president said, citing donations from business people for the reconstruction and the government employees who worked on it.
The theater, whose stage is underpinned by bright yellow pillars and is decorated in the light blue of the national flag, was opened in 1967 and closed in 1991 as the Horn of Africa country plunged into civil war.
Clan-based warlords blasted each other with anti-aircraft guns as they fought over the theater, which they used as a base. Its roof collapsed a year into the conflict.
It reopened in 2012 after African Union and government troops beat back the al Shabaab insurgents from the capital, but was blown up two weeks later.
Abdi Abdulahi, the theater's director, said security forces would protect the theater and even the new coronavirus would not deter them from putting on shows.
"We pray to Allah to save us from evil doers and I am not feeling any fear now, but we have to be alert. The security forces must be alert and we ourselves have be alert and we always ask Allah to protect us," Abdulahi said.
He also said it took 1,000 lorry trips to clear the rubbish and sand which had piled up in the building since then.
(Abdirahman Hussein, Edwin Waita, Nazanine Moshiri, Okwi Okoh)
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