Monday, September 18, 2006
Nun Forgave Somolia Killers
The Side Effects that I mentioned in the last blog post are happening now.
This is from AP Reporter ANTHONY MITCHELL
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -
Sister Leonella, 65, muttered the words "I forgive, I forgive" in Italian after being shot by gunmen Sunday, the Rev. Maloba Wesonga told The Associated Press at a memorial Mass for the nun in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Her killing was not a random attack and could have been sparked by remarks by Pope Benedict XVI about Muslims that have sparked angry reaction from Muslims around the world, said Willy Huber, regional head of the Austrian-funded hospital where Sister Leonella worked.
She was shot as she left the S.O.S. hospital. Her bodyguard also was slain. The two had been walking the 30 feet from the Mogadishu hospital to the sister's home, where three other nuns were waiting to have lunch with her.
"She had no chance," Huber added. "It was like an execution."
"We will punish the culprits behind this nasty killing," he told journalists in the capital. One man has already been arrested.
In recent months, the Islamic group has extended its control over much of southern Somalia, challenging the weak, U.N.-backed government that hasn't been able to exert any power outside Baidoa.
The rise of the Islamic militants has coincided with a wave of killings of both foreign workers and moderate Somali intellectuals.
The United States has accused the Islamic group of sheltering suspects in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden has portrayed Somalia as a battleground in his war on the U.S.
Matt Bryden, a regional analyst, said a renegade Islamic militia or warlords could be behind the killings, hoping to taint the image of the Islamic Courts.
Sister Leonella was aware of the dangers in Somalia and used to joke that there was a bullet with her name engraved on it. "But this never deterred her or discouraged her," Wesonga, who is secretary of the Archdiocese of Nairobi, told the AP at the memorial service.