Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nelson Mandela admitted to hospital with abdominal ailment

South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was admitted to the hospital Saturday following an abdominal ailment, the government said.

"Madiba has had a longstanding abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

"We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world."

A government official assured the public that Mandela's hospital stay was not an emergency and did not involve surgery.

"People need not panic. This was planned. Mandela has had abdominal pains for sometime," said Keith Khoza, a spokesman for the ruling African National Congress.

Mandela - affectionately known by his clan name Madiba -- last appeared in public in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Despite his rare appearances, Mandela, 93, retains his popularity and is considered the founding father and hero of South Africa's democracy.

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