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Pope Francis to visit DR Congo, South Sudan in July

Pope Francis to visit DR Congo, South Sudan in July
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives at Our Lady Queen of Angels School, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)   -  
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Jason DeCrow/AP

DRC Crisis

Pope Francis is planning to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in July, the Vatican announced Thursday.

The 85-year-old pontiff will visit the DRC from July 2 to 5, visiting the capital Kinshasa and Goma in the eastern province of North Kivu.

He will be in South Sudan from July 5 to 7, visiting the capital Juba, Bruni said in a short statement,

The visit is to fulfil a wish to minister to the faithful in conflict-ridden countries.

The trip would be one of Francis’ longest in years and his third to sub-Saharan Africa. He visited Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in 2015 and Mozambique, Mauritius and Madagascar in 2019. Francis also visited Egypt in 2017.

Security is likely to be tight for both legs of the trip, which the Vatican said had been organised "at the invitation of their respective heads of state and bishops."

The DRC, where about 40% of the estimated 90 million inhabitants are Catholic, is struggling with dozens of armed groups in the east of the vast nation.

Additional source: AFP