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

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.


German court convicts Syrian over stabbing that triggered Chemnitz riots

Updated 23 min 28 sec ago

German court convicts Syrian over stabbing that triggered Chemnitz riots

  • The 24-year-old Syrian, identified only as Alaa S, according to German rules, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to nine-and-a-half years
  • It is almost exactly a year since the stabbing which led to thousands of right-wingers marching through Chemnitz and clashing with left-wingers and police

DRESDEN, Germany: A German court sentenced a Syrian asylum seeker to nine-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday over the fatal stabbing of a man in the eastern city of Chemnitz last year that triggered the worst far-right riots Germany had seen for decades.
The verdict handed down in the city of Dresden in the high profile case comes barely a week before elections in the region in which the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is expected to make big gains. The AfD welcomed the verdict.
It is almost exactly a year since the stabbing which led to thousands of right-wingers, including neo-Nazis and soccer hooligans, marching through Chemnitz and clashing with left-wingers and police.
Images of skinheads or far-right demonstrators chasing migrants, performing the Hitler salute and attacking a Jewish restaurant, raised questions about how Germany should deal with its far-right, especially after the 2015-16 migrant crisis.
The 24-year-old Syrian, identified only as Alaa S, according to German rules, was convicted of manslaughter. The Cuban-German victim, Daniel Hillig, died of his injuries after being stabbed in Chemnitz on the sidelines of a local festival.
The Syrian was also convicted of inflicting serious bodily harm on another victim, Dimitri M, who was injured but survived.
“The accused was today found guilty of joint manslaughter and grievous bodily harm. He has therefore been sentenced to a jail term of nine years and six months,” a spokeswoman for the court said.
Prosecutors had called for a 10-year prison sentence.
Defense lawyers, who had called for their client to be acquitted, argued there was no evidence that their client had helped stab the victim and said they would appeal.
German authorities have also issued an international arrest warrant for an Iraqi suspect who has been on the run since the incident. They believe he was the main culprit in the killing.
The AfD said on Facebook it hoped the Iraqi suspect would be found soon and added that Chemnitz had been unfairly “branded as a playground for right-wing radicals.”
“No verdict will return Daniel H to his family and friends but at least it brings some justice in a reality that claims new victims every week,” it said.
Opinion polls show that the AfD could become the biggest party in the two eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg, which hold elections on Sept. 1.
The trial took place in Dresden, the capital of Saxony state rather than in nearby Chemnitz because of the high level of public interest in the case.