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Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan early next year, the Vatican reported Thursday.

The Vatican said that the Pope would be in the Congo of January 31 to February 3 and then he would spend two days in South Sudan together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

In July he had to suspend the trip for a persistent knee painwhich requires him to often use a wheelchair.

Vatican sources said then that he was receiving multiple injections a week to treat the painful condition, as well as physical therapy.

The Vatican statement says that Francis will go to the capital of the DRC, Kinshasa, but does not mention a possible visit to Gomawhich is located in the troubled eastern region of the vast African country and was originally scheduled for the July trip.

After the DRC, the Pope will fly to Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Francis has been wanting to visit South Sudan for years, a predominantly Christian countrybut every time the trip was planned, it had to be postponed due to the instability of the situation.

South Sudan got the independence in 2011. A civil war broke out in 2013, killing 400,000 people, and although the two main sides signed a peace agreement in 2018, the country is still ravaged by hunger and violence.

Despite canceling the trip to Africa, the Pope went ahead with other visits abroad, including a trip to canada at the end of July. Last month, spent four days in Bahrain.

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