In this piece, we go back down memory lane and have a look at the bombing cases that Malta witnessed in a decade, which ‘coincidentally’ some go round ‘businessmen’ and ‘restaurateur’.
31st October 2016 saw the murder of 67-year-old John Camilleri known as Giovanni tas-Sapun. He was driving a Mitsubishi Pajero in Triq Paderborn when it was exploded by a car bomb. He was certified dead on the site. It was reported that he was a businessman, selling bathroom amenities.
16th November 2011 saw the attempted murder of Keith Galea, whose car exploded at 9.30am after he had just parked it, and walked into his mother’s home. Keith Galea had just come out of prison a week earlier on charges related to prostitution. The blast injured three bystanders. Had it been gone off an hour earlier, it would have massacred a number of children since the street is home to a Church school, with the primary state school being situated in the street parallel to it.
1st June 2014 saw the murder of 35-year-old Darren Degabriele who was blown up in his Mitsubishi Pajero while he drove on the road leading from Marsaxlokk to Zejtun. He suffered extensive injuries and died later in hospital. His girlfriend, who was with him in the car, also suffered injuries as well as a man who was driving past. Investigators later found that the bomb was placed inside a metal contained filled with ball bearings. Mr Degabriele was another businessman, being the owner of the Gente di Mare restaurant. He also happened to be the owner of a fuel business.
16th January 2016 saw the murder of 56-year-old Martin Cachia, when a bomb went off inside the Alfa Romeo car he was driving along the Marsascala bypass. Martin Cachia happened to be involved in a number of court cases, which included drugs, contraband cigarettes and human smuggling. And yet, he was out on bail from our courts. Although he had never received any threats before, his son did when the latter’s residence received an arson attack in 2015.
26th September 2016 saw the attempted murder of 35-year-old Josef Cassar, whose van exploded while he was driving along Aldo Moro Road in Marsa. Josef Cassar was grievously injured, losing both legs. A man who was with him in the van was also slightly injured while another 38-year-old driver who was driving alongside the van, was injured. Josef Cassar was described as being the sole director of a haulage company based in Marsa. This means that he was a haulier. It is important to note, that “it later emerged that the bomb had been planted underneath the van and was detonated by a mobile phone.” Isn’t this the same modus operandi that was used in the murder of Daphne?
Daphne Caruana Galiza had pointed at the one exception in the above case, which lied in the make of the above bomb as this bomb was, unlike the rest, packed with tacks, nails and ball-bearings.
“And then the news”, Daphne had written. “Another bomb in another car and another man dead. And I thought, there goes another diesel smuggler. Because the discernible pattern in criminal assassinations over the last few years in Malta is that diesel smugglers are blown up by bombs in their cars, and drug smugglers are shot dead by hired hitmen.”
She ended her blog with the following important observation:
“The National Statistics Office, in figures released five days ago, says that it calculates ‘prostitution and illegal drugs’ as making for €17.1 million of Malta’s gross domestic product last year. Quite frankly, I think that’s a conservative estimate.”
Are all the above bombing cases related to diesel smuggling?