Pope Francis in South Sudan on 'pilgrimage for peace'
Saturday, 4 February 2023 (02:14 IST)
Pope Francis on Friday arrived in South Sudan's capital city of Juba for the final leg of his visit to the African continent .
The pontiff will be joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Iain Greenshields, the moderator of the Church of Scotland.
The religious leaders have traveled to the country for what is being called a "pilgrimage of peace."
Francis has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the past three days, where he met with victims of violence and held Mass before tens of thousands of people.
A joint call for peace
The Christian leaders are there to make a united call for South Sudan's leaders to put differences aside and work for the good of the people.
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of his anticipation of the visit and stated the significance of the trip by the three leaders in a tweet.
"After centuries of division, three Church leaders are coming together in an unprecedented way. Please pray for us and the people of South Sudan as we prepare to begin our Pilgrimage of Peace later today."
The visit comes as continued fighting claimed the lives of at least 20 people in clashes between cattle herders and unknown militias, according to local authorities.
Years of fighting in South Sudan
A protracted civil war in the predominantly Christian country has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions more.
In 2019, Francis promised to travel to South Sudan when he hosted the country's two warring leaders, President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar.
The pontiff asked the leaders to respect a hard-fought ceasefire for their people before kneeling before the two foes and kissing their feet.