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Timothy McKulka/USAID
World News

Bishop announces Pope Francis visit to South Sudan

by Aaron James

Bishop Erkolano Tombe, who serves in the city of Yei, told Reuters the Vatican's confirmed the month of Pope Francis' prospective visit but not an exact date.

South Sudan's been in civil war since 2013 and is now suffering a chronic food shortage as well. It is one of several African countries included in the current Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, urgently raising money to alleviate mass starvation.

Pope Francis has said several times he wishes to visit the country but the war, between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and others loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar, means finding the right time and putting in adequate security is difficult.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war, with human rights observers saying civilians are being targeted and ethnic cleansing is taking place.

The bishop told the news agency: "We have been informed that he will come in October but we don't know the exact date yet.

"It depends on the security situation between now and October. If it remains as it is now, he will come.

"Many people have died. They were shot while trying to harvest their crops... I don't want to lose hope but this hope has to be based on negotiations. If these warmongers don't come and sit together the war will continue."

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