A group of Catholic missionaries are choosing to stay in South Sudan even after most foreign aid workers have left.

The exodus began after South Sudanese troops attacked aid workers at a Juba hotel in July.

According to Associated Press, more than 80 armed men “raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, robbed people and carried out mock executions” for nearly four hours. One woman was raped by 15 men. Victims claim that UN peacekeepers did nothing to help.

La Sallian Christian Brother Bill Firman, director of Solidarity with South Sudan, said in a telephone interview: “We stayed because we are committed to the ordinary people who are suffering so much.

“My colleagues and I believe this is a good place for Religious to be,” the Australian brother said, noting that “we know our continued presence encourages” local residents and “provides some hope”.

Four days after the attack Catholic Relief Services, the overseas aid agency of the US bishops’ conference, said it had evacuated its “non-essential international staff” from the capital. CRS “is supporting the work of Solidarity with South Sudan to help those affected by the current violence”, its statement said.

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