GABON PRES­I­DENT IN MO­ROCCO TO CON­VA­LESCE

Observer on Saturday - - News - AFP

Gabon's Pres­i­dent Ali Bongo ar­rived in Mo­rocco on Thurs­day to con­va­lesce af­ter a month's treat­ment at a Saudi hos­pi­tal for an ill­ness that has not been of­fi­cially re­vealed.

The 59-year-old leader of the oil­rich West African state had been in hos­pi­tal in Saudi Ara­bia since Oc­to­ber 24 when he fell ill at an eco­nomic fo­rum. Af­ter his ar­rival in Ra­bat, Bongo was taken to a hos­pi­tal in the Moroccan cap­i­tal to pur­sue his con­va­les­cence and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, a Moroccan diplo­matic source said.

His trans­fer was ‘in ac­cor­dance with the wishes of his ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent Bongo, in agree­ment with the con­sti­tu­tional in­sti­tu­tions of the Gabonese Repub­lic, and in ac­cor­dance

GABON -

with the opin­ion of the doc­tors,’ the Moroccan For­eign min­istry said in a state­ment.

Af­ter an ex­tended pe­riod of si­lence, the Gabonese pres­i­dency even­tu­ally ad­mit­ted ear­lier this month that Bongo was ‘se­ri­ously ill’ and had un­der­gone surgery, but said he was on the mend. His re­cov­ery would take weeks, or even days, ac­cord­ing to a source in the pres­i­dency. No pic­tures were re­leased to show Bongo's ar­rival in Mo­rocco nor since his hospitalisation in Riyadh, spark­ing con­cerns in Gabon over his health.

A lack of of­fi­cial news - along with mem­o­ries of the se­cre­cyshrouded death of Bongo's fa­ther Omar Bongo in 2009 af­ter decades at the helm - had sparked nu­mer­ous ru­mours, in­clud­ing spec­u­la­tion he was in­ca­pac­i­tated or even dead.

The Bongo fam­ily has gov­erned Gabon for five decades. Ali Bongo was elected head of state af­ter his fa­ther's death.

CON­VA­LESCE: Gabon's Pres­i­dent Ali Bongo.

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