Gabon President Ali Bongo hospitalised in Saudi Arabia

Bongo's office says president admitted to hospital with 'severe fatigue', while sources tell Reuters he suffered stroke.

    Bongo has been president since succeeding his father Omar in 2009 [AP]
    Bongo has been president since succeeding his father Omar in 2009 [AP]

    Gabon's President Ali Bongo has been hospitalised in Saudi Arabia with fatigue, his office said.

    Bongo was admitted to hospital last week because of "severe fatigue", government spokesperson Ike Ngouoni said in a statement on Sunday, while sources told Reuters news agency that he had suffered a stroke.

    The Gabonese president was still under observation on Monday at the King Faisal hospital in Riyadh, where he was taken on October 24.

    A medical and a diplomatic source both told Reuters that the president suffered a stroke.

    Ngouoni, however, denied this and said that Bongo instead had "severe fatigue" due to months of strenuous work.

    Bongo is feeling better and has been told to rest, Ngouoni added, while calling for "vigilance" against "fake news" following false reports of his death.

    A Cameroon TV station had announced live on air on Saturday that the Gabon president had died, without providing any evidence, he said.

    The 59-year-old president was in Saudi Arabia to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference where he was scheduled to speak alongside other African leaders but was not seen during the discussion.

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited him in the hospital that evening, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Thursday.

    However, in a separate dispatch, SPA said Bongo attended a speech by bin Salman at the conference on Wednesday.

    Bongo, whose family has ruled the oil-rich central African nation for nearly half a century, has been president since succeeding his father Omar in 2009.

    He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll that the opposition claimed was marred by fraud.

    Mass protests broke out, during which the national parliament was gutted by fire.

    The country went to the polls this month for the first time since that vote, with the second round of legislative elections on Saturday seeing Bongo's party coasting towards victory.

    SOURCE: News agencies