(CNN)After years of militant and military control, the Somali national stadium in Mogadishu will return to a place for sports.
After years of military control, Somali national stadium returns to sports
The stadium had been occupied by the Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab before it was taken over by troops from the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in 2011.
AMISOM forces have used the stadium as an operating base ever since.
At a handover ceremony on Tuesday, AMISOM and Somali officials toured the war-torn stadium and invited the nation's youth to come and play.
"Today's handover ceremony at Mogadishu Stadium it gives our youth & sports an opportunity for youth to use the Stadium," Mogadishu Mayor Abdirahman O. Osman said in a tweet.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo also attended the ceremony and lauded the handover as a sign of the country's long reconstruction efforts.
The festivities included a marching band and was attended by dozens of young Somalis, many with soccer balls in hand.