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Pope Francis to visit South Sudan next year, preach peace

Thousands of civilians have been killed, often because of their ethnicity or perceived political alliances in South Sudan’s ongoing conflict, which started in December 2013 (Human Rights Watch).

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir left, and opposition leader Riek Machar, right, shake hands after meetings Oct. 20, 2019.

Pope make this announcement while viewing the St. Peter’s Square at his weekly blessing in the Vatican on Sunday.

There are fears the breakdown of the peace deal could lead to the return of large-scale violence in the predominantly Christian country, BBC noted. Pope Francis, who didn’t detail his travel plans to South Sudan, hosted the two rivals in the Vatican in April.

Nyakuoch, 7, and her 12-year-old brother, Gafkuoth, fled their village in 2015 with their family. Today they are among the 5 million South Sudanese people in need of urgent help due to conflict. Photography: Jennifer Huxta/Mercy Corps.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in 2011 only to descend into its own brutal civil war two years later, fueled by oil riches and ethnic rivalries, between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and to former Vice President Riek Machar.

 

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