Military Takes over Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe Detained
In a shocking turn of events in Zimbabwe, the military has seized control of the capital Harare as President Robert Mugabe and his family are detained.
This comes a day after soldiers marched into the capital and took control of the state TV before cordoning off the parliament building and the defence headquarters.
Though the army has declined to call it a coup, it is generally considered an overthrow of the nonagenarian who has been in power since the country gained Independence in 1981.
An army spokesman announced it was targeting people close to Mr Mugabe who had caused “social and economic suffering” for the people.
Interestingly, the move followed in the wake of a purge by Mugabe in the ruling Zanu PF, as the ailing president looked to pave the way for his wife, Grace to succeed him.
His deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sacked along with other powerful officials in the bid to keep the line of succession in the family.
Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of the capital Harare early on Wednesday, while an army statement read out by a general on air maintained that it wasn’t a coup and that Mr Mugabe was safe but did not say where.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo went on air to say the military wished to “assure the nation that his Excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes… that are causing social and economic suffering in the country,” he said.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
While it remains unclear who is leading the military action, Army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga had said the army was prepared to act to end purges within the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Meanwhile, Mugabe appears to have been left in the cold by his close allies after a statement by Zanu PF gave backing to the overthrow.
Writing on their Twitter handle @Zanu_pf, the ruling party said “There was no coup, only a bloodless transition which saw corrupt and crooked persons being arrested and an elderly man who had been taken advantage of by his wife being detained.”
It is not yet clear where Mugabe is being held at the moment.
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