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By Ginger Gibson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ben Carson canceled a trip planned for later this month to Africa that would have taken him to Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia due to what his campaign on Thursday called significant security concerns.

Campaign spokesman Doug Watts confirmed that the trip, scheduled for after the Christmas holiday next week, has been canceled. The campaign did not offer details about the nature of the security concerns.

Carson, who has been criticized by rivals for a lack of foreign policy experience, traveled last month to Jordan to visit a camp for Syrian refugees.

Carson’s support among Republican voters has declined in recent weeks, according to opinion polls. The trips abroad were intended to address concerns that he could not handle international diplomacy.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Will Dunham)

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a news conference in Chicago, Illinois, United States, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

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