MOGADISHU, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Somalia is marking the 52nd anniversary of its independence from Italy with military parades and popular rallies in various parts of the capital Mogadishu and other regions in the war ravaged horn of Africa nation.
Huge rally was held at Konis football stadium in the north of the capital Mogadishu where top government leaders attended the 52nd national independence celebrations and the union between the southern and northern parts of Somalia.
The northwestern regions of Somalia has been under British controlled while the south was colonized by Italy.
Somali leaders who spoke at the gathering called on Somali people to unite at a time when both Somali government and leaders of the breakaway republic of Somaliland are holding on to the future of their relations.
The celebrations also come as the Somali capital has been witnessing relative peace and stability for almost a year since armed extremists fled the city following major military offensive by government forces and African Union peacekeepers.
"After twenty-one years you see the biggest celebrations being held for the July 1 Independence Day which many have forgotten. The Somali people have come out as a sign of the peace in Mogadishu, it is as a sign of rebuilding, it is a sign of brotherhood, a sign of social harmony, it is a sign of peace and progress and prosperity," Mohamed Ahmed Nur Tarsan, Mayor of Mogadishu, said.
Hundreds of Mogadishu residents have held ceremonies throughout the Somali capital while local radio stations have been playing patriotic songs to mark the day.
Folklore dancers and Somali military bands have been performing at the biggest gathering at the Konis football stadium where top government leaders spoke.
Somali government have lately been making headway in its fight against rebels of Al-Shabaab who have been forced out of key towns on the northern and southern outskirts of capital Mogadishu.