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Swiss nun murdered in South African mission

Prayers are being said for the murdered sister in the Brig convent.

(St Ursula's Convent)

A Swiss nun has been killed while working in a missionary hospital in South Africa.

A member of the Ursuline Order, 74-year-old Sister Clementine was shot in the head after unknown assailants attacked the premises in Ngqeleni, a village in the Eastern Cape province.

Hailing from canton Valais, the victim had lived in South Africa for more than 30 years and worked as a nurse and midwife.

No others were hurt during the attack, which took place on Wednesday, according to the Ursuline convent in Brig.

It added that the motive for the killing was unclear.

"She was a loving and selfless woman," a convent spokeswoman said.

Training

The Swiss Foreign Ministry was informed of the incident and expressed its condolences.

It said that the South African authorities were conducting an investigation into the matter.

The deceased took her vows at the age of 32. Prior to that, she had trained as a psychiatric nurse.

It was in the Horn of Africa that she became a midwife, after insisting on being posted there.

The order has been active in the region since 1934.

It celebrates its 400th birthday in 2006.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The first Ursuline Sisters arrive in Brig in November 1661.

The convent and its church are constructed between 1718 and 1732.

Five sisters make their way to South Africa in 1934.

Missionary activities follow in India and Romania.

The order itself was founded in France in 1606.

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