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Former South African president Nelson Mandela is still in the hospital as he recovers from surgery to remove gall stones, ABC News reports.

Mandela was flown to an unnamed hospital in the city of Pretoria on December 8th with no details as to why he was going. The government made an announcement that he was just going to to the hospital for medical testing, giving no indication as to why he needed to be flown to a hospital for said tests. However, they said Saturday that the doctors found gall stones that needed to be removed.

The doctors also said Mandiba, as Mandela is affectionately known, also has a lung infection that needs to be treated. However, they feel tat doing the surgery first would be better and safer.

The 94 year old Mandela has been hospitalized a couple of times over the last year – in January 2011 for a lung infection and earlier this year for abdominal pains – but this is the longest he’s ever been in the hospital.

Although he’s no longer president, there is no question that Mandela is still South Africa’s most revered person. To that end, the media always wants to be updated with full details about his health and whereabouts. These recent health issues have caused a serious rift between the government and the media because the government initially said that Mandela was at a military hospital but then said he was at an undisclosed private hospital.  Further, they stated they will not release the name of the hospital in order to respect the privacy of the family.

The Office of the Presidency released a statement saying the surgery was successful and that Mandela is recovering.

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