Ex-Warlord from South Sudan to visit the Pope - view

Blanche Robertson
April 14, 2019

Social media is now buzzing with visuals of renowned religious leader, Pope Francis, who was captured in a dramatic gesture as he went on his knees to kiss some South Sudan warring leaders in a bid to urge them not to return to civil war.

He said: "I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward", the 82-year-old pontiff told President Salva Kiir and his rival, the former rebel leader Riek Machar on Thursday.

Kiir and Machar had clashed in 2013, leading to a civil war that left roughly 400,000 people in South Sudan dead. He has entrusted much to us, and for this reason will require from us much more!

Addressing the South Sudanese leaders in his residence, the pope said: "There will be struggles, disagreements among you but keep them within you, inside the office, so to speak, but in front of the people, hold hands united".

"Sudan labored so hard to restore peace and stability and because of that we have the current prevailing peace agreement in South Sudan and it is a guarantor", Martin Elia Lomoro, South Sudan's Cabinet affairs minister, said in a meeting with global cease-fire monitors.

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Top Nigerian comedian, Ali Baba, has ripped the South Sudanese leaders who allowed Pope Francis to kiss their feet on Thursday.

He also repeated his wish to visit the country along with other religious leaders to reinforce the peace process. "However, there will be little expectation that it will yield any real progress absent external pressure or an unforeseen change", Klem Ryan, former coordinator of the U.N. Security Council Panel of Experts for South Sudan, told Reuters.

Afterward, Pope Francis asked the leaders to quit fighting against one another and put the civil war behind them.

Sudan, which is predominantly Muslim, and the mainly Christian south fought for decades before South Sudan became independent in 2011. Welby had proposed the idea of the retreat to the pope.

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