During his inauguration speech on Monday, Liberia’s recently sworn-in President, Joseph Boakai, experienced a bout of heat stroke, prompting an abrupt end to the ceremony, as reported by Reuters citing local media. Boakai, 79, emerged victorious over George Weah in a runoff election held in November, and the inauguration took place outdoors in Monrovia, the capital of the West African nation, under sweltering conditions.

As Boakai delivered his address, he reportedly faced difficulties due to the intense heat, causing a pause in his speech. Aides rushed to his aid, attempting to provide relief. Although he resumed speaking after a brief interruption, Boakai ultimately had to be assisted away from the podium, leading to the premature conclusion of the ceremony.

The president’s spokesperson, Mohammed Ali, acknowledged the challenging weather conditions, stating that Boakai had been stabilized after the incident. Ali explained that the high temperatures during the speech contributed to the exhaustion experienced by the 79-year-old leader. He reassured the public, mentioning, “At his age, the exhaustion happened. But it is okay now.”

Critics had previously raised concerns about Boakai’s age and stamina during the election campaign, but his team had dismissed such criticisms. Despite the unexpected conclusion of the inauguration ceremony, Boakai had already taken the oath of office before being assisted away. Subsequently, officials proceeded with a planned lunch, although the whereabouts of President Boakai were not immediately clear.

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