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Plane thought to be carrying Bouteflika lands in Algeria Open in fullscreen

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Plane thought to be carrying Bouteflika lands in Algeria

Bouteflika has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013 [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 March, 2019

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A plane thought to be carrying Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from Geneva, where he had been receiving medical treatment, landed at Boufarik military base south of Algiers, media reported.

A plane thought to be carrying Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from Geneva, where he had been receiving medical treatment, landed Sunday at Boufarik military base south of Algiers, media reported.

The 82-year-old president, who suffered a stroke in 2013, left Algeria for medical checks in the Swiss city on February 24, two days after major demonstrations broke out against his rule.

The white Gulfstream 4SP jet, with "People's Democratic Republic of Algeria" written on the side and the Algerian flag on the tail, landed at the Geneva international airport Cointrin shortly before 10:00 am (0900 GMT).

It took off again around 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), shortly after a large convoy drew up from the hospital where the president had been treated, according to AFP journalists at the airport.

The Algerian government did not immediately announce the purpose of the flight but it was likely that the plane came to collect the 82-year-old leader, who has been receiving medical treatment at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG).

AFP journalists on the scene saw a large convoy arrive at the airport, but could not see who boarded the plane, which remained hidden in a hangar for the approximately six hours it was on the ground in Geneva.

Numerous police officers had been stationed near the VIP wing on the eighth floor of the HUG earlier Sunday afternoon, as television crews waited outside hoping to catch a glimpse of Bouteflika's departure, according to another AFP journalist.

Bouteflika, in power since 1999, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

His bid to secure a fifth term in Algeria's April 18 election has sparked massive protests in the country, dominated by youths who have called for the president to stand aside.

Bouteflika's office has insisted that the president went to Switzerland for routine medical checkups but speculation is rife that his health condition is far more serious.

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