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Pope Francis prays for peace in South Sudan, DRC

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November 23, 2017 (ROME) - Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church on Thursday led a special prayer for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, decrying the mass murders of women and children in the two conflict-affected nations.

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Pope Francis speaks with the Sudanese Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir as they pose for a collective picture with the members of the joint Sudanese South Sudanese delegation on January 20, 2016 (Photo Obsservatore Romano)

“We want to sow seeds of peace in the lands of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in all lands devastated by war,” the Pope told the congregation St. Peter’s Basilica in Italy.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church also wondered why children have remained part of the conflicts they were not part of.

He also observed, “How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children,” adding, “These conflict must come to an end”.

The head of the Catholic church earlier expressed plans to visit South Sudan and DRC.

However, the Vatican, in May, announced that it had scrapped tentative plans for the head of the Roman Catholic Church to make a visit this year to South Sudan, a nation hit by war, famine and a refugee crisis.

Greg Burke, a spokesperson for the Vatican was quoted saying the Pope’s trip would not take place this year, after church leaders expected the pope would visit South Sudan probably in October, although it was not officially pronounced by the Vatican.

South Sudan spiraled into civil war in late 2013, two years after gaining independence from Sudan, and a third of the 12 million population has fled their homes. The conflict was sparked by a feud between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar. The war has killed tens of thousands of people.

Meanwhile, the Pope was also due to visit the DRC, a nation where political instability has caused chaos, despite the country possessing some of the richest minerals. The DRC reportedly has the highest numbers of internally displaced people, at nearly four million, in the whole continent.

(ST)

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