VATICAN Vatican City, 19 September 2006 – Caritas wishes to express its great sadness over the death of Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who was killed Sunday by gunmen outside the health clinic where she worked in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. An agent responsible for her security was also killed in the attack.
Regardless of the reasons why or the political circumstances surrounding her death, Caritas would like to underline that violence of any sort, especially against innocent people working in the service of others, is an offence to anyone of faith. Caritas is also calling for a return to calm after an assassination attempt on the interim president Monday. "Humanitarian and church workers are often now being targeted by those whose agenda is not to help others but to cause mayhem. It is for the international community and leaders of all faiths to condemn such killings,” said Duncan MacLaren, Secretary General of Vatican-based Caritas Internationalis. “Caritas Somalia is trying to increase its work among the poor of Somalia regardless of faith. It will be tragic if Sister Leonella's death leads to our having to close down operations," he added. Caritas Somalia said in a statement, “While we mourn her loss, we wish to honour the memory of this humble, brave and determined servant of God, who has spent her life at the service of the sick people and the poor in Kenya and Somalia, with the greatest love, until she laid down her own life for them.” Caritas calls upon the parties involved in the conflict in Somalia to see through the ongoing peace process, in part because it is also what Sister Leonella might have liked to see coming out of this continuing tragic flow of Somalia’s recent history. There will be a mass and a viewing in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday. She will also be buried in Kenya, where she served with the Consolata Missionary Sisters for nearly four decades as a nurse and nursing instructor. She was 66 years old. Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti, Apostolic Administrator of Somalia and President of Caritas Somalia, will be in Nairobi for the funeral.