Ailing Tebboune back to Germany for hospital treatment

Algerian President flies back to Germany for treatment in hospital for complications in his foot resulting from coronavirus infection.

ALGIERS - Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune flew back to Germany on Sunday for treatment in hospital for complications in his foot resulting from a coronavirus infection, the presidency said.

Tebboune, 75, had returned home two weeks ago from Germany after two months of treatment for COVID-19.

The treatment "was not medically urgent" and should have taken place during Tebboune's last stay in Germany, the presidency said in a statement.

Tebboune postponed the treatment at the time because of some obligations that prompted him to return home on December 29, it said.

Late in December, Tebboune signed this year's budget into law, along with a decree paving the way for an amendment to the constitution.

Speaking to state television near the capital, Algiers, Tebboune said he might undergo surgery on his foot.

"There may be a minor surgery. My return to Germany was previously planned. The period of my absence from the country will be short, God willing," he said. "I will be following state issues with officials on a daily basis."

The long absence of the head of state, who also serves Algeria's defense chief, recalled the lengthy disappearances from public view of his predecessor, Bouteflika, for treatment in France of a stroke in 2013 and later in Switzerland for numerous medical check-ups, with lots of speculation and little information on his whereabouts or health.

Bouteflika rarely appeared in public but kept ruling. He was forced to abandon his bid for a fifth term last year before being pushed from office under pressure from street protests and the powerful army.