Refugees in S. Sudan hope that peace will be brought by the pope's visit

Juba: Mayen Galuak hopes that Pope Francis' visit to the nation's capital city next week will motivate political leaders to finally restore peace, enabling him to return home after nearly a decade in a refugee camp in Juba, South Sudan.

Three days after fighting started in 2013, the 44-year-old entered the UN camp, which was only a few kilometres from his home, in search of safety.

He has since observed how South Sudan's leaders have made and broken peace agreements, how militias have carried out and denied ethnic cleansing, and how the country's ongoing conflict has driven some regions into famine.

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Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Congo from January 31 to February 3 before travelling to South Sudan for two days.

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The pope has long wanted to visit South Sudan, but trips have been postponed because of the country's unrest and cancelled because of the pope's knee condition in June of last year.

The trip, according to the Vatican's envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will serve as a reminder to the international community not to ignore protracted conflicts.

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"We are in a bad situation," said Galuak, who claims he is unable to visit his birthplace in the north of the country due to the threat of attack. "Since 2013, we have not seen any good peace," he added. Civilians continue to be killed nationwide by sporadic clashes.

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