Gabon’s President Returns Home After Extended Medical Leave


President of Gabon – Ali Bongo returned to Gabon on Monday after a three-month medical leave during which a coup attempt was thwarted, two government sources told Reuters.

His return comes a week after a small military group took over the state radio station. The move to grab power was quickly halted but has exposed growing frustration in country over Bongo’s secretive absence.

Bongo had suffered a stroke during a conference in Saudi Arabia in October and was flown to Morocco in November for treatment. He has appeared in television clips in recent weeks, including a New Year’s address in which he slurred his speech and appeared unable to move his right arm. It is not yet clear whether he can walk.

Bongo appointed a new government on Saturday in an apparent effort to shore up his political base, including the nomination of Julien Nkoghe Bekale as prime minister. The new government will be sworn in in Bongo’s presence on Tuesday, the two sources said. The media will not be permitted to attend.

The Bongo family has been ruling Gabon for over 50 years. Ali Bongo took over after his father Omar’s death in 2009. In 2016 he was re-elected into power.


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