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Gabon’s president returns after medical leave: Reports

Ali Bongo expected to attend swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed government

Gabon’s president returns after medical leave: Reports


By Alaattin Dogru

DAKAR, Senegal

President Ali Bongo returned to Gabon on Monday following three months of medical treatment and a failed coup attempt in his country, according to local media.

Bongo left the Moroccan capital of Rabat to attend the oath-taking ceremony Tuesday of the new government he appointed over the weekend.

He is expected to return to Rabat for medical reasons after attending the ceremony and a cabinet meeting.

A week earlier, Gabon’s government said it had thwarted a coup attempt.

Government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told reporters that soldiers who briefly took over the national radio station had been arrested.

Last November, the government announced that the Central African leader had suffered "fatigue" and "persistent vertigo" since arriving the previous month in Saudi Arabia, where he went to attend an investment event.

He left Saudi Arabia, where he had stayed for a month and received medical treatment for an apparent health disorder, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Nov. 29.

Bongo went to Morocco at the invitation of King Mohammed VI for further medical treatment. He was discharged from a hospital there on Dec. 6.

Bongo, 59, came to power in Gabon in elections held following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, in 2009, who had ruled the country for 41 years.

Gabon has been rocked by sporadic violence since the 2009 poll, the results of which have been questioned by the country’s political opposition.

For the past 50 years, the Bongo family has dominated Gabon, where a third of the population lives below the poverty line despite the country’s vast mineral wealth.

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