Somalia’s president said that he is in good health and dismissed reports that he has been near death since being rushed to the hospital with bronchitis this week

yusuf

C/llaahi Yusuf

 Halkaan ka akhri

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somalia’s president said Friday that he is in good health and dismissed reports that he has been near death since being rushed to the hospital with bronchitis this week.

Abdullahi Yusuf, 73, has had chronic health problems for years and received a new liver in 1996.

“I am Abdullahi Yusuf, and I am healthy,” the president, who looked tired and was sitting on a couch, told reporters at Nairobi Hospital, where he checked in Tuesday. “My liver is perfect, don’t worry.

Dr. Mauro Saio, a specialist at Nairobi Hospital, said Yusuf had bronchitis but responded well to treatment and that there was no cause for alarm. Yusuf was expected to travel soon to Britain for his regular checkup.

Still, the president’s illness creates more uncertainty for his volatile country, where the weak government is battling an Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands of people this year.

The president was meant to meet Wednesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Ethiopia to discuss the crisis in his homeland, but he sent Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein instead.

Somalia faces what the United Nations says is the biggest humanitarian crisis in Africa.

The country has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991, then turned on one another. Yusuf’s government was formed in 2004 with the support of the U.N., but has struggled to assert any real control.

Earlier this week, five Somali Cabinet ministers resigned soon after they were appointed, saying their clan was not adequately represented in the prime minister’s new government.

Hussein, the former head of the Somali Red Crescent Society, took office last month pledging to work for reconciliation.

But he is not believed to have the influence over clans — which is vital to Somali politics — that the president enjoys.

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