Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni has undergone a kidney operation, but is recovering, a government minister said Sunday.
Two of Algeria's top officials now have health concerns. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was admitted to a Paris military hospital Nov. 26 after reportedly suffering from gastrointestinal problems.
Rumors that the 68-year-old president is gravely ill have continued to circulate despite assurances that he is recovering.
Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said on national radio Saturday that Bouteflika is "constantly improving and that his health is far from being a source of concern of any kind."
The minister for local administration, Dahou Ould Kablia said that Zerhouni, the powerful interior minister, was no longer hospitalized but convalescing after a major kidney operation weeks ago. He did not specify the date or say whether the minister was in Algeria. Zerhouni is known to have suffered from kidney problems that have taken him out of the public eye in the past.
Ould Kablia said that Zerhouni was kept informed of major issues.
Zerhouni, interior minister since 1999, is close to Bouteflika. The two men have worked hand in hand to end a brutal Islamic insurgency that began in 1992. In September, the nation overwhelmingly accepted a peace plan aimed at bringing a close to the sporadic violence that continues, AP reported. V.A.