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Spanish missionary who devoted her life to the poor is killed in Haiti

A missionary from Spain who devoted her life to helping the poor in Haiti has been shot dead in the country's capital.

Justice ministry official Jean Brunet Noel said Isabel Sola Matas, 51, was from Barcelona but had lived in Haiti for years.

He said her purse was stolen after attackers shot her twice in the chest as she sat at the wheel of her car in the capital Port-au-Prince.

She was attacked as she inched down a winding avenue filled with pedestrians and vehicles in Bel Air, a rough hillside neighbourhood of shacks in the city centre.

A Haitian woman who was a passenger in the car was also shot twice and taken to hospital. Her condition is not known.

At Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the Rev Hans Alexandre described Sola Matas as a "tireless servant of God" who helped build houses, worked as a nurse, fed the hungry and created a workshop where prosthetic limbs were made for amputees injured in Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake.

"The loss is immense. In killing her they didn't kill just one person, they killed the hopes of many people," Alexandre said.

She helped raise tens of thousands of pounds to build a vocational school on the church compound where Haitians could learn everything from catering to electrical wiring to music, Alexandre said.

One Haitian woman outside Sola's home shouted in distress and anger when she heard about the killing.

"What a country this is - she did so very much for people here and this is what happens," Suzie Mathieu said.

Sola was a member of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, whose website describes it as a group of women from various countries who commit themselves to serving others.

By her home's metal gate, a man in tattered clothes stared at the ground. "She was the person who took care of people like me, helping with food and other things," he said. "I am very sad today."



From Belfast Telegraph