Benin President Patrice Talon has returned to Paris for a “routine” health check after having two operations in France earlier this month, the presidency said on Thursday.
The 59-year-old head of state left Wednesday evening from Cotonou after chairing a cabinet meeting.
“He announced at the cabinet meeting that he was returning to France because he had an appointment with doctors for a routine check following his operation,” presidency spokesman Wilfried Houngbedji told AFP.
A source at the airport in Cotonou confirmed Talon’s departure.
Houngbedji did not specify when Talon is expected to return, but did say the president would be on hand for a cabinet meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, he added.
On June 19, the presidency announced in a statement that Talon had undergone two operations on his prostate and digestive system during his almost month-long stay in Paris.
The statement referred to, among other things, a “lesion… discovered at an early stage” in his prostate.
It said the surgery allowed treatment “without need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy” but made no mention of cancer.
A “digestive complication” required a second operation a few days later, the presidency said, adding that Talon was “totally recovered” upon his return to Benin on June 18.
Talon’s prolonged absence sparked controversy in Benin, forcing the government to deny rumours about his health.
Talon’s transparency about his health is rare among African presidents, who are often treated abroad and do not usually disclose details of their illnesses.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, for example, has been receiving treatment in London for almost two months but his administration has refused to disclose any information about his illness.