Updated: 02:31 PM EDT
Italian Nun Shot Dead by Somali Gunmen
MOHAMED SHEIKH NOR, AP
Gunmen reportedly killed Sister Leonella and her bodyguard at the entrance of the hospital where she worked in Mogadishu, Somalia.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (Sept. 17) - Two gunmen killed an Italian nun and her bodyguard at a hospital Sunday, and a security official for an Islamic militia controlling the capital speculated the attack was linked to worldwide Muslim anger over a speech by Pope Benedict XVI.
The nun, whose full name was not released, was shot in the back four times at the entrance to the Austrian-run S.O.S. Hospital in northern Mogadishu, said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, a physician at the facility, which serves mothers and children.
The head of security for the Islamic militia, Yusuf Mohamed Siad, said one man had been arrested and a second was being hunted. He said the killing might have stemmed from the uproar over the pope but stressed he didn't know for sure.
"They could be people annoyed by the pope's speech, which angered all Muslims in the world, or they could have been having something to do with S.O.S," he said. "We will have to clarify this through our investigation."
A Vatican spokesman called the nun's slaying "a horrible episode," the Italian news agency ANSA said.
"Let's hope that it will be an isolated fact," the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. He expressed hope Muslim anger would ease following Benedict's explanation Sunday that the quotation he cited did not reflect his personal opinion about Islam.
The nun, who spoke fluent Somali, was believed to be around 60 and had been working at the hospital since 2002, people at the hospital said, insisting on anonymity for fear of reprisals. She taught at the hospital and also looked after children, said one doctor.