Gabon's ailing Ali Bongo to fly to Rabat Wednesday, says wife

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Ali Bongo (File: AFP)
Ali Bongo (File: AFP)

Gabon's Ali Bongo, who has spent a month in treatment at a Saudi hospital, will on Wednesday be transferred to Rabat to continue his recovery, his wife said on Tuesday.

Bongo, 59, was rushed to hospital in Riyadh on October 24 after falling ill at an economic forum.

After an extended period of silence, the Gabonese presidency eventually admitted he was "seriously ill" and had undergone surgery, while insisting he was on the mend.

"Tomorrow, Wednesday 28 November... Ali Bongo Ondimba, my husband, will leave the King Faisal hospital in Riyadh," wrote his French-born wife Sylvia on Facebook.

He would arrive in the Moroccan capital on the same day, she said.

On November 23, a presidential source told AFP he would be transferred to Morocco "next week" to undergo "a period of convalescence and rehabilitation".

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"The doctors think he is up to travelling, even for such a long trip... he is breathing normally and communicating in a coherent manner," the source said at the time, describing the Gabonese leader as "making good progress."

Over the past month, the Gabonese presidency has only released two statements on Bongo's health, first saying on October 29 that he had been taken to hospital "suffering from severe fatigue".

Then on November 11, Bongo's office admitted he was "seriously ill" and had undergone surgery.

Lack of official news - along with memories of the secrecy-shrouded death of Bongo's father Omar Bongo in 2009 after decades at the helm - had sparked numerous rumours, including speculation he was incapacitated or even dead.

Earlier this month, a foreign source close to Bongo and his French-born wife Sylvia told AFP the Gabonese president had had a stroke.

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