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Minister: Mandela, 93, had minor surgery, doing well after spending night in hospital
JOHANNESBURG (AP) ' Former South African President Nelson Mandela underwent minor surgery to determine the cause of a stomach complaint and the 93-year-old "is as fine as can be at his age," South Africa's defense minister said Sunday.
Lindiwe Sisulu told reporters in Cape Town that Mandela had undergone a laparoscopy, according to the South African Press Association.
"It is not the kind of surgery you are thinking about. It's noninvasive, but nonetheless investigative," Sisulu was quoted as saying.
Surgeons make an incision in the belly to insert a thin, lighted tube to look at abdominal organs during laparoscopy.
The military took charge of Mandela's health care after he spent several days in a private hospital last year with a respiratory infection. Officials have not disclosed where he is being treated this time to protect his privacy.
Mac Maharaj, President Jacob Zuma's spokesman, told The Associated Press early Sunday that doctors had found "no serious concern. His health is satisfactory, given his age."
In statements issued Saturday, the day Mandela was admitted, Zuma said Mandela "has had a long-standing abdominal complaint" that doctors wanted to investigate, was in no danger, and was expected to go home on Sunday or Monday.
Mandela, a Nobel peace laureate who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He has officially retired and last appeared in public in July 2010.
On Sunday, well-wishers prayed for Mandela at Regina Mundi church in Soweto, a former center of anti-apartheid protests and funerals.
In 1997, Mandela spoke at the church, calling it a "battlefield between forces of democracy and those who did not hesitate to violate a place of religion with tear gas, dogs and guns."