Algeria’s President Suffers Mini-Stroke

Algeria’s president suffered a mini-stroke on Saturday without serious complications. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 76, was resting in the hospital after experiencing a brief blockage of a blood vessel around noon.

Rachid Bougherbal, the director of the national center of sports medicine, stated that the incident is called a transient ischemic attack. Boucherbal added:

“His excellency the president of the republic mys observe a period of rest for further examinations.”

He added that there is no reason to worry for Bouteflika. The Algerian president has ruled the oil-rich North African nation since 1999. But he rarely appears in public. Rumors say that he is in poor health, making the announcement of his mini-stroke not surprising.

The announcement of the health scare also comes as speculation continues that the Algerian president will run for a fourth term in elections next year, though he promised to step down. The Algerian political system is delicate. Power is shared between civilian politicians and the more powerful military.

Algeria is one of the richest countries in Africa, because it is the Number 3 supplier of natural gas to Europe. The country holds $190 billion in reserves — up $8 billion in the last year. Aside from the president’s mini-stroke on Saturday, Algeria was also in the news this year after a band of militants affiliated with al Qaeda attacked the Ain Amenas gas plant in January.

During the standoff, which lasted four days, at least 37 hostages were killed. On the fourth day, the Algerian army stormed the facility, killing 29 attackers and capturing three more. One of the hostages killed was from Algeria, while the rest hailed from around the globe.

The American Stroke Association reports that a TIA is caused by a temporary blood clot that lasts a short time. It usually causes no lasting damage to the brain. One-third of those who suffer from TIA go on to have a full stroke in the next year. It is not yet clear when Algeria’s president will leave the hospital.