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Algeria's Bouteflika returns home from French hospital

© Photo: AFP

Video by Siobhán SILKE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-16

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in a French hospital since April after suffering a minor stroke that sparked rumours of his imminent death, arrived back in Algeria on Tuesday, an airport source said.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika headed home from the French capital Tuesday, an airport source said, after a lengthy stint in a Paris hospital that has caused concern.

Bouteflika, who boarded an Algerian presidential jet in a wheelchair at Le Bourget airport, was admitted to hospital at the end of April after suffering a mini-stroke.

“The plane left at 13h29 from the Bourget airport,” the source said, declining to give further details.

The 76-year-old has ruled the North African oil and gas producer since 1999. The country has been run with Soviet-style secrecy for decades by an elite drawn largely from men who fought in the war of independence against France from 1954 to 1962.

The former French colony supplies a fifth of Europe’s natural gas imports and cooperates with the West in combating Islamist militancy.

Health rumours

Bouteflika’s health has been a source of huge concern for Algerians, who have heard little about his condition since he flew to Paris in April. In an apparent move to quell speculation about his health, Bouteflika appeared on state television on June 12 meeting his prime minister and army chief of staff at the Institution Nationale des Invalides in Paris.

But the brief appearance failed to convince media in Algeria, with many newspapers commenting about his weak health.

US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 said Bouteflika had been suffering from cancer but it was in remission.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-07-16

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