Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Hundreds of youths from six towns across Somalia Saturday celebrated the first International Peace Day with a series of football matches and other sporting events, the Nairobi-based UN Office for Somalia said.
Thousands of spectators turned out to enjoy the celebrations, which were organised by the Sports for Peace program of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, funded by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator's Office, and implemented in cooperation with the Somali Olympic Committee.
Youth football teams kicked off the Peace Day events simultaneously at stadiums and local playing fields in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baidoa, Belet Weyne and Johar, the office said.
It added that street children and orphans in Mogadishu, Afgoi, and Belet Weyne joined the celebrations by demonstrating different sporting techniques in football, basketball, gymnastics and Tae Kwando, which they are engaged in as part of the ongoing activities of the Sports for Peace programme.
"Sporting events bring people together," said Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Somalia.
"On this International Peace Day, with 530 boys and girls participating in these special sports events, and with many more spectators cheering them on, Somalis expressed their desire for peace and stability in their country.
" The UN General Assembly this year decided that from now on, the International Day of Peace would be observed every year on 21 September, as "a day of global cease-fire and non-violence.