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Pope Francis (Left) on wheelchair is received by President Salva Kiir (Right) on Friday at Juba international Airport.

Millions of people welcome Pope Francis in South Sudan

Pope Francis touched down in Juba on Friday afternoon amid ululation from millions of South Sudanese people who thronged Airport Road to witness his historic arrival.

The Pontiff was received by President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

 Pope Francis started his fifth visit to Africa on February 2nd in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The trip is Francis’s 40th abroad since he was elected the head of the Catholic Church in 2013.

The pontiff is expected to hold discussion with President Kiir and Vice President Machar on the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace deal whose implementation remains slow.

People line up on the street to welcome Pope Francis in Juba on Friday.

Pope Francis will also meet church leaders and internally displaced people on Saturday in Juba.

In 2019, the leaders of the Catholic, Anglican and Scottish churches met at the Vatican with South Sudan rivals Riek Machar and Salva Kiir to encourage them to salvage a stalled peace deal signed the year before.

In an act that stunned the world, Francis knelt and kissed the duo’s feet, urging them not to return to conflict after both men had been accused of responsibility for war crimes.

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