An elderly Italian nun and her bodyguard were shot dead in the Somali capital Mogadishu yesterday. The nun, who has not yet been named, is believed to be in her seventies. A fluent Somali speaker, she was one of the longest-serving foreign members of the Catholic Church in Somalia. She was shot in the back three times by intruders who found her working in a children's hospital. . It is unclear if the shooting is connected with strong criticism made on Friday by a radical Somali cleric Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Malin, about the Pope's recent comments on Islam. A Vatican spokesman said the killing was "a horrible act" which he hoped would remain isolated. Yusuf Mohamed Siad, security chief for the Union of Islamic courts (UIC) which controls Mogadishu, said two people had been arrested. 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.
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