Plane believed to be carrying Algerian president leaves Geneva

An Algerian government plane believed to be carrying President Abdelaziz Bouteflika took off Sunday from Switzerland, where the ailing leader has been undergoing medical treatment for two weeks.

The white Gulfstream 4SP jet, with “People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria” written on the side and the Algerian flag on the tail, landed at the Geneva international airport Cointrin shortly before 10:00 am (0900 GMT).

It took off again around 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), shortly after a large convoy drew up from the hospital where the president had been treated, according to AFP journalists at the airport.

The Algerian government did not immediately announce the purpose of the flight but it was likely that the plane came to collect the 82-year-old leader, who has been receiving medical treatment at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG).

AFP journalists on the scene saw a large convoy arrive at the airport, but could not see who boarded the plane, which remained hidden in a hangar for the approximately six hours it was on the ground in Geneva.

Numerous police officers had been stationed near the VIP wing on the eighth floor of the HUG earlier Sunday afternoon, as television crews waited outside hoping to catch a glimpse of Bouteflika’s departure, according to another AFP journalist. (AFP)