December 6, 2011 / 1:24 PM / 7 years ago

Bissau president recovering in Paris hospital

BISSAU, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau President Malam Bacai Sanha is recovering from a medical procedure in Paris and hopes to return to his West African state by the weekend, according to a presidential statement on Tuesday.

Sanha’s illness and departure in late November raised worries about a possible military takeover in a country that has suffered repeated coups and political assassinations.

“The President Malam Bacai Sanha checked out of intensive care at Val de Grace hospital in Paris yesterday, December 5,” according to the release issued by presidency officials and read by local radio broadcasters.

“The President even received family and friends (...) and expressed a wish to return to Bissau at the weekend.”

The United States embassy in Dakar on Monday issued a warning to U.S. citizens in Guinea-Bissau that there was an “increased potential for political instability and civil unrest” as a result of reports of Sanha’s ill health.

Sanha, 64, who came to power in 2009 after his predecessor was assassinated, has been dogged by poor health and is believed to suffer from diabetes. A foreign ministry source told Reuters last week that Sanha, 64, was placed in an artificial coma during his treatment in Paris.

Guinea-Bissau, a tiny former Portuguese colony whose main export is cashew nuts, is seeking to shore up its fragile stability after years of turmoil, fuelled by the military’s meddling in politics.

International drug trafficking networks have taken advantage of weak government and corruption to turn the country into one of West Africa’s transit points for Latin American cocaine headed to Europe. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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