Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari had to refute rumours of his own death.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday denied claims that he had died and been replaced by a Sudanese impostor, breaking his silence on a rumour that has been circulating on social media for months. On Monday, Gabon President Ali Bongo made his first appearance since falling ill nearly six weeks ago, quashing rumours that he was dead.
For world leaders, it seems almost an occupational hazard to refute rumours of their own death. Mr Buhari and Mr Bongo are not the first ones to do so. Here's a look at other world leaders who have had to prove that they are not dead:
The Russian president disappeared from public view for almost ten days in 2015, leading to speculation that he had died. According to the Telegraph, Mr Putin made his first appearance after ten days to quash rumours of his death and ill health. "It would be boring without gossip," Mr Putin said at the time, referring to a life without rumours.
In 2012, right after he became the supreme leader of North Korea, rumours began to spread that Kim Jong-un had been assassinated in Beijing. According to BBC, story apparently originated on Chinese microblog site Sina Weibo and was later picked up by Twitter users across the world. As we know well now, the rumours were just that – rumours, and Kim Jong-un is alive and well.
The president of Malawi also had to dispel rumours of his own death in October 2016. According to QZ, Mr Mutharika had flown to New York in mid-September and then vanished from public eye, sparking rumors that he'd died along with the hilarious hashtag #BringBackMutharika. He returned to Malawi in mid-October, very much alive.
Robert Mugabe,94, served as president of Zimbabwe for 30 years. According to the Mirror, in 2016, it was reported that Mr Mugabe had died mid-air on a trip from Dubai. He laughed off the rumours upon landing, saying: "Yes, I was dead. It's true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do once I get back to my country. I am real again."
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