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Pope arrives in South Sudan to push for peace

February 3, 2023 at 3:24 pm

A view of mural depicting Pope Francis as preparations continue ahead of the his visit in Juba, South Sudan on January 28, 2023 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Pope Francis, on Friday, landed in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country and one of its most troubled, hoping to spur a stalled peace push and draw global attention to a devastating humanitarian crisis, Anadolu News Agency reports.

His flight from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo landed in the capital, Juba, at around 3 pm local time (1300GMT), where thousands gathered to welcome him, including President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

The Pope will spend three days in South Sudan, along with Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, moderator of the Church of Scotland, on an ecumenical pilgrimage for peace.

In DR Congo, Francis called for forgiveness and a need to break what he termed a “cycle of violence”.

He urged Africa’s youth to craft a new future by overcoming ethnic rivalries and rooting out corruption, identifying them as the main issues fuelling bloody conflicts on the continent.

Francis will remain in Juba until Sunday, where he will hold meetings with various officials, diplomats, church leaders and civil groups, as well as people affected by the violence that has plagued South Sudan for years.

READ: UN body says $1.7bn needed to support most vulnerable in South Sudan in 2023