Bomb blast hits market in Somali capital

Bomb blast hits market in Somali capital
A bomb blast has targeted the Somali capital, while the port director DP World in Puntland.
3 min read
04 February, 2019
Somalia has seen numerous bomb blasts in Turkey [Getty]

A bomb blast targeted a busy market in the Somali capital on Monday killing at least seven, while the Maltese director of a port in the country was also assassinated in the north of the country.

"There was a strong explosion at the Hamarweyne market," said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed. "We have no details for now but the area where the blast happened is a densely populated market."

Agencies said that a car filled with explosives was detonated close to Mogadishu's main municipality centre.

A Somali police officer said at least seven people died, while nine people were injured.

Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliated group, have carried out numerous attacks in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia.

The militants controlled much of Somalia but were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has since lost many of its strongholds. 

Al-Shabaab still control many rural and remote areas of the Horn of Africa state, and continues to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities.

"The bombing follows a US airstrike which killed 13 suspected Al-Shabaab fighters outside Mogadishu yesterday," said The New Arab's James Brownsell.

"The US has now announced 10 airstrikes on Al-Shabaab already this year. It's too early to say whether this is a direct response, but the group appears to be demonstrating it is still capable of bringing death and destruction, despite US attempts to downgrade their capabilities."

A gunman on Monday killed the Maltese manager of the port of Bossasso, in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland state, a local security official said, in an attack claimed by the Al-Shabaab group.

"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," the official, Mohamed Dahir, told AFP.

Formosa was manager at Bossasso for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World, according to LinkedIn.

One witness told AFP that he heard several shots coming from inside the port and then saw the body of a white man being taken away in an ambulance.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the killing in a statement.

"The attack is part of broader operations targeting the mercenary companies that loot the Somali resources", it said.

The DP World subsidiary had signed a 30-year concession contract for the management and development of the port, in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.

It lies in a key strategic areas between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, more than 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) north of Mogadishu.

The UAE has invested heavily in ports and built military bases around the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

The country is also engaged in the war in Yemen, where the UAE has built up a strong military and economic presence.