Five years after US Navy SEALs stormed Osama Bin Laden’s hideout and killed the late al-Qaida leader, the plot of land where the mission took place is the center of another battle.
The safe house has since been demolished but civilian and military officials are feuding over what to do with the land, Stars and Stripes reports.
The 38,000 square foot compound sits in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where government officials are set on installing a community playground doubling as a prayer center.
“In addition to a playground, the place can be used for funeral prayers as well. The people in the area have neither a playground nor a place for funeral prayers nearby,” Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani told the BBC.
But military officials want to use the location as a graveyard. Bashir Khan, a member of the Cantonment Board of Abbottabad — a military council responsible for regulating local development — told the BBC there aren’t enough cemeteries in the area.
“It is needed because there is no graveyard nearby for the local population,” said Khan.
The tug of war between civilian and military officials began after the compound was fenced off by the military in May of this year, according to Stars and Stripes. The fence was removed after the government stepped in, but last month the military returned stetting up a three-foot wall around the perimeter.
The wall remains but exclusive authority over the land is yet to be ironed out.
Since the safe house was demolished, neighborhood kids have used the empty field to play games. Area residents want to rid their neighborhood of the stigma attached to the al-Qaeda leader’s compound and some have suggested building a school for girls.