Bashir had throat surgery in Qatar, in good health: official

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2012 9:18 AM
Bashir had throat surgery in Qatar, in good health: official

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's veteran President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had a minor operation on his vocal cords in Qatar in August but otherwise is in good health, a government official said on Sunday.

Sudanese newspapers and blogs have begun speculating about the health of Bashir, 68, who has been ruling the Arab African country for 23 years. He has been holding fewer public rallies, where he performs a famous dance with his walking stick, in the past months.

A government official told Reuters Bashir had extended a visit to Qatar during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in August by two days to undergo the surgery.

"He went there in the last week of Ramadan but he's totally fine. It was a minor operation," said the official, who declined to be named. He confirmed a report about the surgery in the daily al-Rai al-Am, which is close to government thinking.

Presidential spokesman Emad Said Ahmed said only that Bashir was in good health.

"President Omar al-Bashir enjoys good health and doesn't have any health problems. He is performing his daily political, social and security duties according to his schedule," Ahmed told Reuters, adding that Bashir had attended a military ceremony last week.

"All rumors that his health is not good are baseless," he said, declining further comment.

Bashir is facing dissent over an economic crisis with high inflation and tough austerity measures but opposition activists have failed to stage mass protests.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Williams)