ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Eritrea has sought to quash speculation about President Isaias Afewerki's health, saying he was "fit as a fiddle" and lambasting the United States for spreading "lies" over his condition.
Rumors have been rife in the past few years that Isaias
, 66 and in power since 1993 after leading his
country to independence from Ethiopia, was in poor health and required regular trips abroad for treatment.
Speculation about his
health has stirred up debate over who might eventually replace the reclusive leader.
has no obvious successor but the opposition says he
might be grooming his
son, Abraham, for the top job.
"The government of President Issaias Afewerki has already permitted the death in detention of at least four journalists.
We prefer not to talk about it and don't intend to be involved in provocations," Isaias
told Eritrean state TV in an interview late on Sunday that was later broadcast on the Internet.
"The military incursions were plotted by Washington with the aim of diverting attention from implementing the boundary commission's decision," he