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Vatican drops plan for papal trip to South Sudan in October

May 30, 2017

Plans for a trip by Pope Francis to South Sudan have been set aside, apparently because of security concerns.

Greg Burke, the director of the Vatican press office, disclosed on May 30 that plans for an October papal visit to the troubled African country had been shelved. While plans for the trip might be revived, he said, it would be “not for this year.”

In March, Bishop Erkolano Tombe of Yei, South Sudan, had disclosed that the Pope was planning a trip to his country, but he had acknowledged that the plans could change because of security concerns arising from the escalating civil war in the country. Earlier that same month, Pope Francis had told reporters that he had hoped to visit South Sudan, but that plans had encountered obstacles, and “I don’t think I’ll be able to go.”

South Sudan, which won independence from Sudan in 2011 after years of bloody civil war, has been plagued by fighting between two factions within the new nation. Tens of thousands of people had fled their homes to escape the violence, and the country—already one of the world’s most impoverished—now faces a war-induced famine.

 
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