Gabon president appears in video after long medical absence


Gabon President Ali Bongo on Monday made his first appearance after having fallen ill about six weeks ago, in a video shared by the presidency from his medical leave in Morocco.

He suffered a stroke while at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 24, sources told Reuters.

Initially, it was announced that he was struggling with severe fatigue and later  that he had experienced bleeding that required medical attention.

Bongo’s wife last week said he was travelling to Morocco to continue his recovery. No further details were given about his health.

Gabon’s top court ruled last month that the vice president would chair the cabinet in the absence of the president.

In footage shared with journalists, Bongo appears sitting down in a blue and white robe alongside his old friend, Moroccan King Mohammed VI. The two men are seen chatting briefly, though the video has no sound.

At one point, Bongo, who is seated at a right angle to the camera, the right side of his face obscured, sips on what appears to be a glass of milk.

The Bongo family has ruled Gabon for nearly half a century. Bongo got into power after succeeding his father, Omar, who died in 2009. His re-election in 2016 was marred by violent protests amid claims of fraud.

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