Rumors have spread like wildfire since Friday evening in Algiers about the demise of the Algerian President, despite governmental denials. "President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died," reported French journalist Alain Julles on his blog. According to him, the Algerian leader died in a Swiss hospital.
This rumor spread at a brisk pace in the Algerian capital, reaching the ears of some foreign ambassadors.
Without a public appearance, Algeria's El Watan newspaper reported that ambassadors turned to journalists to unravel the right from wrong.
There are reports about the alarming state of health of Bouteflika since 2005, when he was admitted to the military hospital of Val-de-Grâce in Paris. From then, his public appearances have been increasingly rare over the years and without official explanation.
Some sources believe that the recent government reshuffle declared in Algeria about a week ago is not accidental, and see a link with the current rumors. The Algerian government, however, has responded to this rumor by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "This is malicious rumors that do not honor their authors and do not deserve the attention, as they are unworthy and contemptible," he stressed.
At the time, the Algerian official kept saying that the president was doing well.