The police are still actively investigating this morning’s car bomb explosion, which killed Martin Cachia, 55, from Marsascala, but are refusing to call the case a homicide.
Addressing a press conference this evening, Police Superintendent Silvio Valletta said the dynamics of the case were still being established. The main reason why the police cannot so far tell for sure that this was a homicide is the fact that the bomb was inside the car when it went off.
Mr Valletta said the police were exploring all possibilities, including that Mr Cachia was targeted or that he was carrying the device.
The Superintendent said the victim has still not been positively identified but have a clear indication that Mr Cachia is the victim. Forensic officers will confirm the true identity through DNA tests. The tests will also determine whether he was killed in the explosion or the ensuing blaze.
The police officer confirmed that Mr Cachia was involved in a number of court cases, including on drugs, contraband cigarettes and human smuggling. The Superintendent said the investigation would also determine whether the incident was connected with Mr Cachia’s past.
He said officers were currently speaking to people close to the victim and appealed to anyone with information to come forward. Mr Cachia, he said, did not live in Marsascala but went there regularly for physical exercise.
He also said it was too early to say what kind of explosive was used, adding that the weather did not help. The victim had not reported receiving any threats. Mr Cachia was out on bail, subject to certain conditions, including signing at a police station.
Mr Cachia, a registered fisherman, was facing charges related to human trafficking. In March 2013 he had been charged along with four Egyptians of smuggling 20 men into Malta. The migrants had been found hidden inside the hold when the boat was intercepted.
The victim was driving a red Alfa Romeo – which is not registered in his name – when it exploded on the Marsascala bypass. The incident happened at around 9.15 am close to the Chef Choice establishment.
Reports say the car blew up but kept going for a short distance before it slammed into a wall.
The fire was put out by the driver of a bowser truck and two farmers also tried to assist the injured man who was, however, certified to be dead on site. One of the farmers told reporters that they managed to put out a fire and found a badly burnt person inside the vehicle.
Police officers, ambulances and members of the Civil Protection Department were on site soon after the blast. Members of the AFM's EOD unit were also seen inspecting the wreckage. A tarpaulin has now been set up over the crime scene. Magistrate Aaron Bugeja is holding an inquiry.
35-year-old Darren Degabriele was killed in a similar incident in Marsaxlokk in 2014.