Guinea Bissau president Sanha hospitalized in France

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2011 1:49 PM
Guinea Bissau president Sanha hospitalized in France

BISSAU (Reuters) - Guinea Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha, who has suffered health problems since taking office in 2009, has been hospitalized in France, a source at Guinea Bissau's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The president of the tiny former Portuguese colony on the West African coast, had been placed in an artificial coma, said the source, although this was not confirmed officially.

"President Malam Bacai Sanha is in a coma so he can withstand the treatment doctors are giving him," said the source, who asked not to be named.

Sanha, who is 64-years-old and diabetic, has been dogged by poor health. The source said he spent hours in intensive care at a hospital in neighboring Senegal last week before being flown to France.

Stability in Guinea Bissau, whose main legal export is cashew nuts, remains fragile after years of turmoil, fuelled by the military's meddling in politics.

International drug trafficking networks have also taken advantage of the weak government and corruption to turn the country into one of West Africa's transit points for Latin American cocaine headed to Europe.

(Reporting by Alberto Dabo; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Sophie Hares)