P&O Ports Bosaso CEO Paul Anthony Formosa was killed and two other port staff injured in an attack by al-Shabaab militants at Bosaso, Somalia.
The ex-patriate port management community is reeling from the news that Paul Anthony Formosa has been killed at Bosaso in the Puntland State of Somalia. According to BBC reporting citing Reuters and other sources, Mr Formosa was gunned down in a fish market on his way to the port, and the injured staff were part of his security detail.
Al-Shabab is an Al-Qqaeda affiliate, and quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing P&O Ports’ parent company DP World of looting Somalia’s resources and Mr Formosa of being in the country illegally.
Mr Formosa was a Maltese national whose career included positions at Malta Freeport, CMA CGM, Terminal Link, Gulftainer in Umm Qasar, Iraq, ICTSI in Sudan and Abu Dhabi Ports in Guinea, and time as an independent consultant. He took up the position of CEO of P&O Ports concession at the Bosaso, Somalia General Cargo, Container and Fuel Terminal in Puntland in August 2017. Mr Fomosa was responsible for organising what he himself called “full life support for the Expatriate team on the ground, which includes the construction of a secure camp including all the safety measures required due to the volatile political situation.”
This assassination highlights the growing level of political tension in East Africa regarding investment from the United Arab Emirates. In March 2018 the Somalian Government debated and approved legislation banning DP World from operating in the country, and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo warned foreign companies not to violate Somalia’s sovereignty.
The concession at Bosaso, however, is between P&O Ports and the de facto independent Puntland State of Somalia. The P&O Ports brand was resurrected by the Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in 2015. Its Chairman is Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who is also Group Chairman and CEO of DP World. At the time the concession was signed (April 2017), bin Sulayem said Bosaso was "a unique opportunity to enter into a multipurpose port that is transitioning to containerisation in a country that is growing strongly as it enters a period of sustained peace."