Guinea-Bissau president in hospital

2010-12-08 12:19

Bissau - Guinea-Bissau President Malam Bacai Sanha, who has frequently gone abroad for medical reasons over the past year, has been in a Paris hospital since last week, his office in Bissau announced on Tuesday.

"The president of the Republic has been admitted to Val-de-Grace hospital in Paris for a routine medical examination," the Bissau presidency said in a short statement without giving further details.

This marks the 63-year-old leader's fifth admittance to the French military hospital in the past year.

Sanha came to Paris last week after attending the Europe-Africa summit in Tripoli. On October 23 he was taken by military helicopter to a hospital in Dakar, Senegal, due to an undisclosed illness.

When he returned on November 2, the visibly weak but smiling president told journalists: "Those who want me buried know that we will die together... In any case, I am still here and I thank God for that."

Sanha has diabetes but details of the state of his health remain shrouded in mystery.

He became head of troubled Guinea-Bissau in September 2009 after winning a run-off election in July with 67% of the votes six months after soldiers assassinated his predecessor, Joao Bernardo Vieira.

In the four decades since independence from Portugal, Guinea-Bissau has been wracked by coups d'├ętat, army mutinies and political killings.