Mar 25th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – Pope Francis on March 23, 2018 met representatives of the South Sudan Council of Churches and discussed how to promote peace in a country ravaged by a bloody four-year civil war, the Guardian reported.
Following a meeting with the head of the Catholic Church at Vatican city, Secretary General of the South Sudan Council of Churches said “The Pope holds the suffering people of South Sudan in his heart,” adding that the delegation and the pontiff debated ways of resolving the South Sudanese conflict that has raged since December 2013 two years after independence.
Pope Francis unhappy with South Sudan government
Sources attached to the delegation said pope Francis is not happy with the South Sudan government because the pontiff believes that the government is responsible for bringing peace to the country and not the rebel.
One source quoted pope as saying “It is the government of South Sudan who should bring peace to the country because the primary responsibility to stabilize and unite the nations lies in the hand of the government and not the opposition.”
In May 2017, the Pope cancelled a planned trip to South Sudan due for October due to security reasons. The same month pope cancelled the trip, Italian media reported that pope made the decision to travel to South Sudan reluctantly and later would cancel it “after the information coming to his desk left him with few alternatives.”
However, the source said the pope cancelled the trip in protest of the South Sudan government’s reluctance to make peace with the opposition despite assurance by the government to bring peace to the country.
South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013 when elements of the SPLA, South Sudan’s army, went door-to-door to kill the Nuer who shares ethnicity with the country’s former vice president Riek Machar who was feuding with Kiir, a Dinka, over the country’s leadership.
The conflict has so far killed between 50,000 and 300,000 and displaced around 4 million people, almost half of the country’s 12 million population.
In February this year, a United Nations commission identified 41 senior South Sudanese officials responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including gang-rapes, castrations and ethnic violence.