A French-Spanish nun has been brutally murdered in a village in the Central African Republic where she taught sewing to young girls, the Vatican said Wednesday.
The 77-year old was found beheaded early Monday according to the Vatican News website, while a bishop in CAR said her throat had been slit.
Pope Francis paid tribute to the nun on Wednesday, describing the murder of a woman "who gave her life for Jesus in the service of the poor" as "barbaric".
He called for those gathered in Saint Peter's Square for his weekly general audience to pray in silence for her.
"Her attackers broke into her room on the night between Sunday and Monday and took her to the centre she was running for the young girls, where they beheaded her," Vatican News said.
"According to a local member of parliament, the murder could be linked to trafficking in human organs," the site adds.
A spokesman for the diocese of Burgos in Spain told AFP a bishop in the Central African Republic had described the state of the nun's body.
"They cut her neck to the point of killing her, but they didn't cut off her head completely," he said.