In South Sudan, some Catholic missionaries have chosen to stay despite the departure of most other expatriates in the wake of savage fighting in the capital Juba, including the brutal rape of foreign women.
"We stayed because we are committed to the ordinary people who are suffering so much," said De La Salle Christian Brother Bill Firman, director of Solidarity with South Sudan, according to a report in the Catholic Herald. "My colleagues and I believe this is a good place for religious to be. We know our continued presence encourages local residents and provides some hope."
Catholic Relief Services, the aid agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is among those who took "non-essential international staff" out of Juba after the latest attack when Americans were singled out and one woman was raped by 15 men.
CRS "is supporting the work of Solidarity with South Sudan to help those affected by the current violence with food, water and shelter in churches and schools, where many have sought refuge," the agency said.
The Catholic news agency Agenzia Fides reported "heinous actions and unspeakable crimes" in South Sudan, the world's newest country, and which has a Christian majority.
Bishop of Yei Erkolano Lodu Tombe described to Fides a wave of killings by armed men and civilians in the wake of the clashes in Juba. Three members of one family were slaughtered and their bodies thrown into the Yei River. The atrocities are causing many people from South Sudan to seek refuge in neighboring Uganda.