HARARE, Zimbabwe, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe returned to his country Saturday defying rumors he had suffered a stroke or died while on a flight from Africa to Singapore after his plane abruptly landed in Dubai.
Media reports surfaced that Mugabe, 92, had suffered a debilitating health emergency and the country’s vice president had temporarily been sworn in as interim president. Mugabe laughed off those concerns after landing in Harare around 8 a.m. local time.
“I went to sort out things with my child in Dubai,” he told reporters at Harare International Airport, adding, “Yes, I was dead, it’s true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do once in get back to my country. I am real again.”
Mugabe’s government has recently cracked down on large protests over the country’s economic stagnation, calls for election reform and his promise to run for re-election in 2018.
Dozens of protesters were arrested by police last week despite court orders sanctioning the protests.
Mugabe had been headed from a conference in Swaziland to Singapore, where he receives regular health treatment when his plane made a sharp turn north toward the Persian Gulf and touched down in the United Arab Emirates. He spent three days there in seclusion before returning to Zimbabwe on Saturday.