Lay Missionary's '03 Death Linked to Terror Network

Dr. Annalena Tonelli, 63, Slain in Somalia

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MOGADISHU, Somalia, JULY 14, 2005 ( An Italian lay missionary killed in October 2003, in the town of Borama was the victim of a fundamentalist group linked to an international terrorism network, said the Fides agency.

The Vatican missionary agency echoed a report from the International Crisis Group regarding the death of Dr. Annalena Tonelli, 63, who died Oct. 5, 2003.

Sources told Fides that Tonelli and other Western humanitarian workers killed in the last two years in northern Somalia were victims of a fundamentalist group connected with the international network of terror.

The sources, who weren’t identified for security reasons, recalled the alarm raised last year with regard to a «price» put on the heads of Westerners in Somalia.

Foreign terrorists present in Somalia offer $5,000 for every foreigner murdered, the sources said. They could not confirm if the compensation still holds.

Somali groups connected with international fundamentalist Islamic terrorism have formed an alliance with Mogadishu warlords who do not want the new government to be installed, the sources told Fides.


According to the International Crisis Group, the new organization, «based in lawless Mogadishu and led by a young militia leader trained in Afghanistan, made its presence known by killing four foreign humanitarian workers in the relatively safe territory of Somaliland between October 2003 and April 2004.»

«The threat of Jihad terrorism in Somalia is real,» stated the Crisis Group report, warning that the Islamic group may exploit the presence of foreign peacekeepers in Somalia.

This group sees the arrival of foreign troops in Somalia, mainly from bordering countries, as an opportunity «to make Somalia another Iraq.»

Annalena Tonelli had worked for over three decades in her hospital in remote Borama, in Somaliland. Her shooting death shocked the African country and the missionary world in general.

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