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Indonesia's Suharto to undergo stomach surgery

The 84-year-old, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years, was admitted to hospital in early in May due to bleeding in his digestive system.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 11:18 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Former Indonesian President Suharto needs to undergo stomach surgery at the hospital, which has treated him for the last two weeks, a doctor said on Friday, shortly after the country's current leader visited him.

The 84-year-old Suharto, who ruled Indonesia with an iron fist for 32 years, was admitted to hospital in early in May due to bleeding in his digestive system, which lowered his body's oxygen level, including to his brain.

"There is some bleeding under his skin around a past operation wound. We won't go into the intestines, only beneath the skin to get the blood out," said Dr Kunindro Dadi.

"It's a small operation," he added.

He said blood was not flowing well into Suharto's brain, killing a few cells at two spots on the organ's right side.

"The effect is not that big. He still can talk," Dadi told Reuters, adding Suharto could speak when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the former strongman ruler earlier on Friday.

Suharto has been admitted to hospital several times since he stepped down in 1998 when social and political chaos engulfed Indonesia. He has suffered several strokes since then and has had lung and kidney problems.

Indonesia's attorney-general last week said his office had stopped pursuing graft charges against Suharto because of his poor health. The octogenarian's illness had prevented his persecution on charges of graft.

The case has been announced as closed in the past, only to be opened again when officials in charge have changed. Some in parliament also dispute whether Yudhoyono can unilaterally drop it without legislative approval.

First Published: May 19, 2006 11:18 IST