September 18, 2006
Colleagues: Nun Forgave Somalia KillersA powerful, radical Islamic group, which is accused of having ties to al-Qaida, has all but wrested control from the weak and factional Somali government. With it has come a hard-line Taliban-style rule complete with public floggings and executions. Its leaders have pledged to wage holy war against an African peacekeeping force that is supposed to arrive early next month to help stabilize the country. By ANTHONY MITCHELL
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -
A nun shot four times at the Somali hospital where she worked forgave her killers as she lay dying, colleagues said Monday in the wake of her slaying, which has focused attention on Islamic radicalism in the Horn of Africa.
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.
Sister Leonella, whose birth name was Rosa Sgorbati, had lived and worked in Kenya and Somalia for 38 years, her family said.
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.
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