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Italian nun aidworker and bodyguard killed in Somalia after Imam tells Muslims "to hunt down and kill whoever offended...Mohammed"

Nun in her seventies shut in the back by two gunmen who fled after killing her and a bodyguard
September 17, 2006

La Farnesina conferma la morte della religiosa che apparteneva a un gruppo di tre suore delle Missionarie della Consolata, da anni impegnate a Mogadiscio. La suora uccisa lavorava nell'ospedale Sos Kinderdorf della capitale somala: lo ha riferito ad Apcom l'inviato speciale dell'Italia per la Somalia, Mario Raffaelli. «Pare che uno degli assassini sia stato catturato», ha aggiunto il rappresentante italiano, precisando di essere ancora impegnato a verificare la notizia..

Two gunmen killed the nun who was part of a group of 3 nuns who were part of the Mission of Consolation in Mogadishu. The sister was working at the Hospital SOS Childrens Village in the capitol Somalia.

Sister Leonella, 65, a nun who devoted her life to helping ill people in Africa, used to joke there was a bullet with her name engraved on it in Somalia. When the bullet came, she used her last breaths to forgive those responsible.

"I forgive, I forgive," she whispered in her native Italian just before she died Sunday in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, the Rev. Maloba Wesonga told the Associated Press at the nun's memorial mass Monday in Nairobi, Kenya

The attack by two gunmen was not random and could have been a result of the Muslim anger over remarks by Pope Benedict XVI linking Islam and violence, said Willy Huber, regional head of the Austrian-financed hospital where the Roman Catholic nun worked.

But Abdurahman Mohamed Farah, deputy leader of the Islamic militia, disputed that, blaming it instead on Somali warlords who were driven out of Mogadishu in June.

Sist Leonella, whose birth name was Rosa Sgorbati, had lived and worked in Kenya and Somalia for 38 years. Her bodyguard also was slain.

Italian nun killed in Mogadishu
Somalia map
Gunmen have shot dead an Italian nun in the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses and medical workers have said.

The attackers shot the nun three times in the back in a hospital in the south of the city, also killing her bodyguard before fleeing the scene.

The nun, who has not been named, is believed to be in her seventies.

It is unclear whether the shooting is connected with strong criticism by radical Somali clerics about the Pope's recent comments on Islam.

Hardline cleric Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Malin on Friday told worshippers at his mosque to hunt down and kill whoever offended the Prophet Mohammed.

Yusuf Mohamed Siad, security chief for the Union of Islamic courts (UIC) which controls Mogadishu, said two people had been arrested over the shooting.

There has been no effective central government in Somalia since 1991, and although the UIC is credited with bringing some stability to Mogadishu, correspondents say the city is far too dangerous for all but the bravest aid workers to operate in.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at