by Karl Azzopardi
Monday February 4, 2019
Maltese port manager Paul Anthony Formosa was shot and killed in Somalia on Monday by jihadist group Al Shabaab, officials said.
The shooting happened in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, where Formosa worked as port manager for Dubai-based company DP World. The company is developing Bosaso Port.
The murder was confirmed later on Monday by the Maltese Foreign Ministry that said the shooting happened inside the port of Bosaso early on Monday morning. The ministry said Formosa was a construction project manager.
"The Foreign Ministry is following the case closely and will issue additional information should there be significant developments," the statement concluded.
The governor of the Bari region Yusuf Mohamed, said that the perpetrators were disguised as fishermen, at a fish market through which Formosa was passing through to get to the port.
One of the attackers was shot and killed by security forces at the scene.
A spokesman for the Shabab’s military operations claimed that the Maltese man was staying in the country illegaly.
“We had warned him but he turned a deaf ear. He was illegally in Somalia,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab.
"The attack is part of broader operations targeting the mercenary companies that loot the Somali resources,” the statement read.
Formosa, a former Freeport worker from Marsaskala, was manager at Bossaso for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai based DP World.
His LinkedIn profile shows that he had been in the position since August 2017.
The DP World subsidiary had recently signed a 30-year concession contract for the management and development of the port which lies on the Gulf of Aden between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The contract was deemed controversial.
According to reports, the state is a destination for many Somalis displaced by violence in the south.
The family did not wish to comment when contacted by MaltaToday.
Freeport saddened by Formosa's murder
Malta Freeport Terminals said it was saddened by the news that its former employee was killed in Somalia. Formosa was employed with the company as a quay crane operator between 1993 and 2011.
He was described as "a trusted and diligent employee".
Malta Freeport Terminals CEO Alex Montebello said: “Paul was a hardworking employee, lively, open-minded and loved by his colleagues. We are extremely shocked to learn of this attack and our thoughts are with his family during this most difficult time.”
The Freeport said Formosa was such a capable employee that towards the end of his employment at Malta Freeport Terminals, the company had assigned him to commissioning cranes in other ports that made up the CMA CGM portfolio.
Through his previous background, his experience at the Freeport and the exposure he got from other terminals, Formosa had occupied the post of operations manager at the terminal in Lattakia in Syria after he left Malta.
“Paul had a very good relationship with the Freeport and he visited the terminal regularly whenever he came to Malta. He will be missed,” Montebello said.