Eritrean Government Dismisses Reports that President is Ill

Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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The government of Eritrea is denying opposition reports that President Isaias Afewerki is seriously ill.

In an interview with VOA on Monday, Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu said the president is “healthier than ever.”

One media report claimed President Afewerki was in Kuwait for medical treatment.

The government spokesman said the Eritrean leader toured three zones in his country over the weekend to check on development projects.

Abdu said he personally met with Mr. Afewerki late Sunday.

The government issued a statement Monday calling the claims “fantasies” put forth by the, quote, “demonizing campaigns” of rivals.

President Afewerki has ruled Eritrea since 1993.

Under his leadership, rights group charge Eritrea has silenced critics and crushed the independent media.

Neighboring Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of supporting al-Shabab extremists in Somalia.

Mr. Afewerki has denied the accusations and said accusations that he runs a pariah state show a bias against his country.