Monday September 20, 2021
Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh has returned home to the Horn of
Africa country, his office said Sunday, after rumours that the
73-year-old had been hospitalised in Paris.The prime minister and the government spokesman both said Guelleh was taking a break because of "overwork".
Re-elected for a
fifth term in April, Guelleh has ruled Djibouti since 1999 and has used
his country's unique geographical position to lure investors and foreign
military powers, all while keeping an iron grip on power.
after rumours began to circulate on social media last Monday that
Guelleh had flown to Paris and checked into a hospital, Foreign Minister
Mahmoud Ali Youssouf issued a series of tweets saying the reports were
"All the information circulating on the networks is poison spread to disturb our fellow citizens," Youssouf wrote.
Sunday's statement said Geulleh had returned from a "private visit to France", Djibouti's former colonial power.
The president's Twitter account posted images of Guelleh leaving his plane.
seized on Djibouti's unique geographic location on the Red Sea to
develop the tiny, arid nation of one million people into a reliable
international military and maritime hub.
It hosts military bases for global powers including France, the United States, Japan and China.
third-smallest country by area on the African mainland, and sandwiched
between volatile neighbours, Djibouti embarked on an infrastructure
blitz, courting major investment in its quest to become the "Dubai of
Despite a plethora of projects, however, many Djiboutians still live in grinding poverty.
government has also been accused by rights groups of cracking down on
dissent, limiting free speech and suppressing opposition parties.
an age cap prohibiting him from running a sixth time, Guelleh is
expected to anoint a successor from within his own trusted circle, in
much the same fashion as his own appointment.