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  • A convoy believed to be carrying Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is pictured while driving along the highway in Algiers

    A convoy believed to be carrying Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is pictured while driving along the highway in Algiers | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 March 2019

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned home on Sunday after receving medical treatment in a Swiss hospital, the Algerian presidency has confirmed.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika flew home to Algeria on Sunday after spending two weeks in a Swiss hospital, state television said, returning to a country where crowds of protesters asked him to resign despite his promise to leave office in the near future.

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Algeria: Bouteflika Vows Political Reforms in Face of Protests

A government plane transporting the ailing president arrived at Boufarik military airport near the capital, Algiers. Ennahar TV showed footage of what it said was a convoy of vehicles transporting him.

Hours before Bouteflika's arrival, his ruling FLN party urged all sides to work together to end the crisis and promote national reconciliation, Ennahar TV said.

Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah added his voice, saying Sunday that the army and the people "have the same vision of the future."

But the protesters are still rejecting Bouteflika's offer to limit his term after the election.

State TV carried a statement from the presidency saying he had returned to Algeria after routine medical checks.

The 82-year-old president has rarely been seen in public since a stroke in 2013. Last April, he appeared in Algiers in a wheelchair.

Bouteflika was elected in 1999 with backing from the generals, pledging to end the civil war that erupted after the military annulled an election in 1992 that Islamists claimed they were poised to win.

He negotiated a truce to end the fighting, which killed as estimated 200,000 people, and wrested power from the secretive military-based establishment known as "le pouvoir" (the power). He also granted amnesty to militants who laid down their arms.

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