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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anger in Kenya over Mandera World Cup TV video hall ban

Football fans in north-eastern Kenya have criticised a decision by a Muslim leader to close public video halls ahead of the World Cup.

Many Kenyans watch live football in video halls via satellite because they cannot afford the technology at home.

But Sheikh Khalif Mohammed has shut the halls down in the town of Mandera, saying the satellite channels expose children to pornography.

The move has sparked anger in a nation where football is hugely popular.

The BBC's Bashkas Jugsodaay in Mandera says fans have told him they will do anything to watch the World Cup, which begins in six weeks' time.

Some even said they planned to cross the crocodile-infested river Dawa to watch games in neighbouring Ethiopia.

"If the chiefs [clerics] don't lift the ban, I will go anywhere for the World Cup - from the first day to the last day," said a man who did not want to be identified.
Sheikh Mohammed said the video halls were a bad influence on local children and encouraged them to miss school.

"If anyone wants to go watch the World Cup at his house or her house then we have no problem. But public - no," he told the BBC.

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