Gabon President Ali Bongo Returns After Prolonged Absence

(Bloomberg) -- Gabon President Ali Bongo, who has been out of the country for almost three months after suffering a stroke, returned Tuesday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of a new government.

Bongo, 59, arrived early in the morning in the capital, Libreville, presidency spokesman Ike Ngouoni said by phone. He was seen sitting in a wheelchair at the swearing-in of Prime Minister Julien Nkoghe Bekale’s 38-member government later in the day. His office provided photos of the event after private media were prohibited from attending.

Bongo fell ill on Oct. 24 while attending an investment summit in Saudi Arabia. He was then transferred to Morocco, where he spent months recovering. He’s made only a few public appearances, including a pre-recorded New Year’s speech that was considerably shorter than usual addresses. The uncertainty surrounding his health has raised questions about his ability to carry out his functions.

Gabon was roiled by a failed coup attempt last week by soldiers who alleged Bongo is no longer fit to rule. Four have been arrested and will face trial.

Bongo has ruled OPEC’s second-smallest oil producer since winning disputed elections in 2009 that were held months after his father, Omar Bongo, died in office.

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