ALGIERS: Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika took part in independence celebrations and appeared in public Saturday for the first time since he was sworn in for a fourth term in April.
State television showed Bouteflika, 77, a former officer in the National Liberation Army (NLA), seated in a wheelchair as he laid a wreath at the martyrs’ cemetery in El-Alia, an Algiers suburb, for the 52nd anniversary of independence.
He heard Muslim prayers, was honored by Republican Guards, kissed the national flag and was greeted by Algeria’s main political leaders.
The former French colony gained its independence in 1962 after a seven-year war of independence led by the NLA following more than a century of occupation.
Bouteflika, who was sworn in on April 28 after an election victory despite chronic health problems, has since received foreign leaders at his Zeralda residence, west of the capital.
He has also sent several messages of support to the Algerian team before they were eliminated from the football World Cup in Brazil, where they advanced to the last 16 for the first time.