Maltese director of Somali port shot dead in attack claimed by Al-Shabaab

MOGADISHU (AFP) – A gunman yesterday killed the manager of the port of Bossasso, in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state, a local security official said, in an attack claimed by the Al-Shabaab extremist group.

“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”, the official, Mohamed Dahir, told AFP.

Formosa, a Maltese national, was manager at Bossasso for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World. According to his profile on LinkedIn, he had been in the position since August 2017.

A witness, Abdukadir Weheliye, said he heard several shots coming from inside the port and then saw the body of a white man being taken away in an ambulance.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the killing in a statement.

“The attack is part of broader operations targetting the mercenary companies that loot the Somali resources”, it said.

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.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the 1991 overthrow of President Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of anarchy and conflict.

The Al-Shabaab extremist group claimed responsibility for yesterday’s killing of a Maltese manager at the port of Bossasso in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state. – AFP