Somali port boss shot dead; car bomb leaves nine dead in attacks

Updated February 05, 2019

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Mogadishu: Emergency rescue staff carry the body of a victim over rubble at the scene of a car-bomb attack on Monday.—AFP
Mogadishu: Emergency rescue staff carry the body of a victim over rubble at the scene of a car-bomb attack on Monday.—AFP

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s Al Shabaab militants on Monday shot dead the Maltese manager of a port, while detonating a car bomb in the capital which killed nine people and wounded several others.

In a deadly day for the restive nation, a gunman shot Maltese national Paul Anthony Formosa, manager of the port of Bossasso in semi-autonomous Puntland state for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World.

Shortly thereafter a powerful explosion from a car bomb rocked the busy Hamarweyne market in the capital Mogadishu, killing nine people in the latest attack from the Al Qaeda affiliate plaguing the country.

“An armed man shot and killed Paul Anthony Formosa who was the construction project manager for DP World. He was killed inside the port and the security forces also shot the killer on the spot”, local security official, Mohamed Dahir, said.

The Dubai government confirmed the death in a statement on Twitter and said the circumstances of the incident were being investigated.

“Three other employees have been injured in this morning’s incident, and all are currently receiving medical treatment,” read the statement.

The attack was claimed by Al Shabaab, which said in a statement it was “part of broader operations targeting the mercenary companies that loot the Somali resources.” The DP World subsidiary in 2017 signed a 30-year concession contract for the management and development of the port, strategically located on the Gulf of Aden, between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, more than 1,300 kilometres north of Mogadishu.

The Dubai-based ports company has sparked friction with Mogadishu over its development of ports in Berbera in breakaway Somaliland — whose independence is not recognised — as well as Puntland. Many of Somalia’s federal states have aligned with the United Arab Emirates, while the central government is perceived as pro-Qatar, in the Gulf crisis pitting Arab powers against each other.

Shabaab also claimed responsibility for the car bomb in Mogadishu, via a statement on a pro-Shabaab website.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2019