Somalia port boss killed, car bomb leaves 11 dead

Workers offload barrels from a ship at the Port of Bosaso in Somalia’s Puntland. Paul Anthony Formosa, a project manager for DP World subsidiary P&O Ports, was killed inside the port. (Reuters)
Updated 05 February 2019
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Somalia port boss killed, car bomb leaves 11 dead

  • Paul Anthony Formosa, a Maltese national, was manager at Bosaso for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World
  • Building collapses as a result of deadly blast in Hamarweyne market

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s Al-Shabab terrorists on Monday shot dead the Maltese manager of a port, while detonating a car bomb in the capital which killed 11 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 11 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,” said local security official, Mohamed Dahir.

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-Shabab, 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 km 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 recognized —  as well as Puntland.

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

“The blast occurred close to Mogadishu mall and it has caused death and destruction,” police officer Ahmed Moalin Ali said.

“The terrorists parked a vehicle loaded with explosives in the vicinity of the mall to kill the innocent civilians.”

He said some of the victims died in a building that collapsed as a result of the blast in the Hamarweyne market.

“I saw the dead bodies of four people recovered from the debris of a collapsed building and three others were strewn dead outside after the blast had blown them,” said shopper Munira Abdukadir.

“I was not far away from the blast location, but I was lucky to have survived, several people were wounded and some were screaming before the ambulances arrived,” said another witness, Abdulahi Mohammed.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the 1991 overthrow of President Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of chaos — including an insurrection by Al-Shabab since 2006.

The group once held sway over large swathes of countryside and the capital, however they were chased out of Mogadishu by the 22,000-strong African Union peace-enforcement mission, AMISOM in 2011, and have since abandoned many strongholds.

They nevertheless control vast rural areas and remain a key threat to peace in Somalia and the region, with the capacity to stage significant attacks.

In October 2017, a truck bombing in a busy neighborhood of Mogadishu killed over 500 people in the deadliest attack in Somalia to date.

On Jan. 15, Al-Shabab gunmen — and the first-ever suicide bomber in Kenya — attacked the Dusit hotel and office complex in Nairobi, leaving 21 dead and prompting police and the US Embassy to urge caution in public spaces.


Google to end forced arbitration for all worker disputes

Updated 32 min 36 sec ago
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Google to end forced arbitration for all worker disputes

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Google said Thursday it will no longer require that its workers settle disputes with the company through arbitration, responding to months of pressure from employees.
The change will take effect March 21 and will apply to current and future employees. Employees that have settled past disputes won’t be able to re-open their cases.
Google said last year it would end forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault cases, and Thursday expanded that practice to all worker disputes. Google’s parent company, Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., has its nearly 100,000 employees.
The updated practices only apply to Google employees, and employees of Google projects such as Deep Mind and Access. Other Alphabet subsidiaries, such as Waymo, are not included.
Mandatory arbitration requires employees to settle their disputes with the company privately and outside of court. The practice, widespread in US employment contracts, can lend itself to secrecy and has faced criticism recently.
Google workers who staged a walk out late last year have continued to press the tech giant to drop forced arbitration requirements. Protest organizers commended Google for Thursday’s announcement, but wrote in a Medium post that they would not officially celebrate until the changes went live in employee agreements.
Google won’t make all employees re-sign their work contracts, it said, but will post the policy change internally and update its contracts for new employees.
The company also said it would extend the change to its agreements with contract workers. But it will not require vendors to change their own contracts, meaning some workers could still be held to the previous standard.
Other tech companies including Facebook, Uber and Microsoft have recently ended forced arbitration for sexual assault and harassment claims.
Google Walkout organizers who are focused on forced arbitration issues said they would continue working on ending the practice at other companies. Members of the group plan to meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., next week to advocate for a federal law against forced arbitration.