The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

‘My father helped people, offered liveable wage’ - daughter of Maltese man killed in Somalia

Jeremy Micallef Monday, 4 February 2019, 09:13 Last update: about 3 years ago

“My father was a good man – he helped the people of the countries he worked in, and offered them a liveable wage, the daughter of a Maltese man who was shot dead in Somalia told The Malta Independent.

Paul Formosa was shot and killed by Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group on Monday whilst working for a Dubai government-owned port operator in the country’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.


“My father was not in Somalia illegally. My father was not a businessman. My father was a worker. He was an employee. He was not there on holiday. He was there working hard for his family to provide a better life. He was dedicated to his work. He was there making sacrifices and he made the ultimate sacrifice for us,” his daughter Sarah said.

“No one chooses to go to Somalia, especially if it’s illegal for him to go. I also want to send a message to the keyboard warriors using my father to justify their racism.  My father was a good man. He helped the people of the countries he worked in and offered them a liveable wage. The people coming here are escaping the people that killed my father. My father’s murder isn’t a justification for people to spew hatred and push their agenda. I appreciate it if you and other media respect the family at this tragic time.”


Incident Background

The attack on Dubai's P&O Ports comes as the United Arab Emirates has rapidly expanded its port operations and military presence in Somalia and across East Africa. In claiming the attack, al-Shabab said it targeted the man because he worked for a company that "occupies" Somalia's Bosaso Port, likely a worrying sign for the Emiratis amid their expansion.

P&O Ports acknowledged one of its employees was killed and three others injured in an "incident" Monday at its operations in Bosaso, 1,100 kilometers (690 miles) northeast of the capital city, Mogadishu, on the Gulf of Aden.

The government-run Dubai Media Office tweeted the information on behalf of P&O Ports, saying an investigation was ongoing. It did not explain the circumstances of the worker's death, though it said those injured were receiving medical care. P&O Ports did not answer a phone call Monday seeking comment.

Malta's Foreign Ministry identified the dead man as a Maltese citizen who worked as a construction project manager for P&O Ports. It said he had been "shot dead." Al-Shabab separately claimed the attack.

Al-Shabab, or "the youth" in Arabic, is a Sunni Islamic extremist group in Somalia born out of that country's years of anarchy following its 1991 civil war. The al-Qaida-linked group has launched attacks across Somalia and into Uganda and Kenya.

The U.S. has targeted al-Shabab leaders in drone strikes while Somali forces, backed by troops from African nations, regained control of Mogadishu in 2011. But suicide attacks from al-Shabab continue unabated, challenging the Somali government even as investment and rebuilding take hold. On Monday, a suspected al-Shabab car bombing in Mogadishu killed at least seven people.

The UAE in recent years has increasingly invested in ports in East Africa, which lie along a crucial trade route for the federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.

P&O Ports signed a 30-year, $336 million deal in 2017 to develop the Bosaso Port. Meanwhile, Dubai's DP World also is operating a major port in Somalia's breakaway territory of Somaliland.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that in the early morning of Monday, a Maltese national who was a construction project manager for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World, was shot dead inside the port of Bossasso, Somalia. According to media reports, Islamist militant group Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion is following the case closely and will issue additional information should there be significant developments.


Freeport shocked by horrific killing of its former employee in Somalia

Malta Freeport Terminals is saddened by today’s news that its former employee Paul Anthony Formosa was killed in Somalia.

Formosa, who was employed with the company as a quay crane operator between 1993 and 2011, was 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.”

Formosa, who was the construction project manager for DP World at the port of Bosaso, 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, Mr 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.”

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