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Pope Francis Urges Healing: Seeking Peace in Sudan’s Turmoil

Pope Francis's recent plea for peace emphasizes the critical need for urgent action to bring an end to the strife.

Pope Francis, in his Sunday address from the Vatican City, urged Sudan’s warring factions to halt a devastating 10-month conflict that has resulted in widespread displacement and raised concerns about famine. The conflict involves Sudan’s armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with millions of civilians caught in the crossfire. Despite diplomatic efforts, including mediation attempts by regional and international bodies, the war persists, exacerbating humanitarian crises.

Francis emphasized the urgent need for peace in Sudan, urging the parties involved to prioritize the well-being of the country and its people. He called for prayers to pave the way for peaceful resolutions and stability in the region.

The Pope’s plea for peace extended beyond Sudan, as he also referenced ongoing conflicts in other parts of the world. Mentioning Mozambique, Ukraine, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, he highlighted the toll that warfare takes on populations, emphasizing the exhaustion and suffering experienced by those affected. Francis reiterated the futility of war, emphasizing its destructive nature and the imperative of seeking peaceful solutions to conflicts.

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The Sudan conflict Pope Francis addressed has a complex history rooted in longstanding political, ethnic, and economic grievances. It’s not just a 10-month issue; Sudan has a history of civil strife dating back decades.

Decades of authoritarian rule under leaders like Omar al-Bashir created deep-seated discontent among Sudanese citizens, leading to protests in late 2018 and early 2019. These protests eventually culminated in the ousting of Bashir in April 2019 after nearly 30 years in power. However, his removal did not immediately bring stability.

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Following Bashir’s ousting, Sudan entered a transitional period where power struggles between the military and civilian groups ensued. The military, initially in control, faced off against civilian opposition groups represented by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

This power struggle led to negotiations and a power-sharing agreement in August 2019, but tensions persisted over the composition of the transitional government and the military’s role in the democratic transition.

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Meanwhile, clashes between government forces, paramilitary groups like the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and rebel militias escalated in regions like Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. These conflicts have resulted in widespread displacement, loss of life, and humanitarian crises, with millions of Sudanese civilians affected.

Economic challenges, including high inflation, unemployment, and shortages of essential goods, have further fueled social discontent and instability.

Despite diplomatic efforts, including mediation by regional and international actors, the Sudan conflict remains unresolved. Pope Francis’s appeal for peace underscores the urgency of finding a solution to end the crisis.

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